Accuracy in Media

Reuters’ response to an Accuracy in Media Action Alert, accusing the wire service of a double standard in reporting on COVID in Cuba and America, tries to avoid taking the blame for their own editorial decisions.

Reuters instead tried to deflect the blame to the World Health Organization, which Reuters understands is a known associate for Communist regimes around the world. But still, Reuters’ position is so shoddy, their defense doesn’t even get the actors right.

 

As background, Reuters was accused of doing the work of Cuban Communists in an article this week in which the wire service warned the Cuban protests against the socialist regime there increased the danger of spreading COVID infections in the island nation. But they quoted the Pan American Health Organization, not the World Health Organization to support their dire warning that further protests against the Cuban communist regime could increase COVID infection rates.

“The gathering of individuals for protests… increases the risk of transmission, in particular in cases such as Cuba where you have active transmission in many areas over the last week and 34,244 new cases reported,” said Dr. Ciro Ugarte, PAHO’s director of health emergencies according to Reuters.

AIM.org subsequently pointed to Reuter’s explanatory “journalism” of last year’s Black Lives Matter (BLM) demonstrations (Did events like protests and bar reopenings lead to spikes in COVID-19 cases?), which were much larger, in which the wire service went out of the way to say that participation in those demonstrations didn’t entail any risk of COVID infection.

Using hedge words common to progressive journalism when it comes to COVID and other science issues, Reuters said there was no “conclusive evidence of large-scale spread from these [BLM] events.”

That’s about true as saying that there is no conclusive evidence of anything else that hasn’t yet been studied or has been studied scantly.

In defending itself, Reuters pretends that they exercise no editorial discretion as to who they quote; that they don’t pick quotations to support their progressive positions; and that they don’t hide behind so-called experts to disguise their activism.

“The equation for major prevention of this virus is really pretty simple: it’s masks, and avoid congregating indoors and … staying away from people if you’re sick or if you’ve been in contact with somebody who’s sick,” said Dr. Jared Baeten, Vice Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Washington reported Reuters in protecting the BLM protests from fears of COVID infections.

One expert that Reuters used last year to opine about the BLM protests even said that having events outside helped “contain the risk” of COVID infection.

“The fact that most concerts were outside has helped contain the risk,” said Martin Blachier, head of market access and value with Paris-based epidemiological and disease modeling firm Public Health Expertise when asked about outdoor activities like BLM protests.

So why the double standards when it comes to Cuba and the anti-communist protests? Why didn’t Reuters go back to the experts they quoted previously to provide a more balanced commentary?

Only the editorial board of Reuters can answer those questions. But forgetting about the intentions of Reuters, the effects are clear. Reuters slants its reporting whenever socialist causes can’t defend themselves.

At least as to COVID — and likely as to everything else too.




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