Accuracy in Media

For weeks, the New York Times has not overtly criticized the Chinese communist government for fudging their statistics and reported coronavirus cases to organizations such as the World Health Organization.

In a recent live blog, the New York Times finally acknowledged there are issues with the Chinese government’s reported statistics.

The New York Times headlined the issue, “Models predicting expected spread of the virus in the U.S. paint a grim picture.”

“As the death toll ticked past 3,000 on Tuesday, the nation was set to overtake that of China, where 3,305 people have reportedly succumbed to the virus, although the Chinese figures are coming under increasing scrutiny.”

For example, last week, the New York Times published an article with the headline, “China hits a coronavirus milestone: No new local cases.” But that article and its headline did not address the West’s skepticism about the Chinese government’s reported statistics.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Chinese government admitted its statistics on coronavirus infections were inaccurate. The government said that it did not include about 1,500 cases where patients were asymptomatic-yet-infected with the virus. It created further doubts about China’s reported cases, due to the Chinese government’s cover-up of the initial virus outbreak and ongoing propaganda efforts to blame the U.S. military for spreading the virus.

According to WHO data, China reported a total of 82,447 cases with 3,310 deaths. Adding in the 1,500 previously-unreported cases, the total rises to 83,947. But it was not clear whether some of the 1,500 infected cases should be included in the death toll, which would affect reported fatality rates and give a more-complete picture of the virus’s effects on Chinese society. Western newspapers and the likes of the WHO were left guessing the accuracy of China’s reported cases.

It took at least a week for the New York Times to acknowledge that there are accuracy and reporting issues with the Chinese government’s reported statistics on the coronavirus’s spread in China. The New York Times should not have taken a week to dance around the reality that the Chinese government cannot be fully trusted and that its statistics should not be taken at face value, considering the Chinese government’s initial cover-up of the outbreak and its ongoing propaganda efforts that blame the U.S. military for the virus.

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