Accuracy in Media

Vice News is taking exception to a recent decision of El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly to ban public and private gatherings “not related to the arts, culture, or sports until December 8” as a measure to reduce COVID.

“While legislators described the measure as a precaution after a spike in COVID-19 cases, it also followed a couple of large protests against the government, leading critics to call the decree a disguised ban on demonstrations,” Vice reported. 

Vice pointed out that recent demonstrations have been highly political and critical of El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele, which is cause for suspicion on just why the government felt the need to cancel demonstrations. 

Similarly, Vice protested loudly in July about the Cuban government crackdowns on protests. 

“Since Cubans spilled onto the streets last weekend in a startling show of rebellion against their communist government, the authorities have ratcheted up their repression,” Vice wrote as the communist government used COVID as an excuse to clamp down on protests.  

But it was a far different story for Vice when they covered the political activities of the GOP last year during the presidential campaign. 

When Trump staged a political rally in Bemidji, Minn., Vice blasted the outdoor event as a spreader of COVID saying that nine people tested positive for the virus as a result, with two hospitalized, one in intensive care. 

It claimed on the basis of a Stanford study done by economists — not epidemiologists — that Trump rallies last year caused 30,000 cases of COVID with 700 deaths. 

The publication used it despite an epidemiologist saying that the study was “overtly political.”

“Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told Politico that the paper offers ‘a data point.’ But Mina added that the paper is ‘also so overtly political that it makes it hard to distinguish if there were decisions made out of perhaps unrecognized bias,’” reported Vice. 

Vice even condemned a Trump event for non-COVID heat-related illnesses, quoting Biden, who called the event “a superspreader event.”  

“Donald Trump has waved the white flag, abandoned our families, and surrendered to this virus,” now-President Joe Biden said at the time. “Donald Trump just had a superspreader event here again. They’re spreading more than just coronavirus. He’s spreading division and discord.”

It’s obvious by now, given that our society also has made COVID exceptions this year for events “related to the arts, culture, or sports” (and the sky isn’t falling as a result), that the fear of a COVID superspreader is an excuse by El Salvador and Cuba to prevent protests.  

And everyone should applaud Vice for standing against the dictators in Latin America who try to use COVID as an excuse to shut down legitimate political discourse and enthusiasm.

But it would be far more valuable for America if Vice stood against their own dictators who used COVID as an excuse last year to shut down legitimate political discourse and enthusiasm at home. 




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