Monday’s New York Times once again spun hard for the Chinese Communist regime whose suppression of health warnings allowed the coronavirus crisis to spread, in an article posing as an even-handed assessment of U.S.-China friction: “Confrontation Is Winning Out Over Cooperation in Face of a Pandemic,” by Michael Crowley, Edward Wong, and Lara Jakes.
When President Trump took the podium at the White House briefing room one afternoon last week, his prepared remarks included a reference to the “corona virus.” But a close-up photograph revealed that Mr. Trump had used one of his signature Sharpies to cross out the word “corona,” changing the phrase to “Chinese virus.”
The reporters gave China’s regime wiggle room, even when Trump laid out undeniable facts about its despicable response to the outbreak.
Mr. Trump was scathing as he accused Beijing of concealing the outbreak first detected in Wuhan that has become a pandemic now paralyzing the United States. “Certainly, the world is paying a big price for what they did,” he said....
The Times has never been hesitant to circulate criticism of the Russian regime or any country with a right-wing strongman in charge. Yet when Communist China is in the dock, it’s suddenly risky to criticize. The paper went quite soft on China.
Even some health officials in the Trump administration have warned that denouncing China’s government could make it more resistant to sharing accurate data about the virus. China has shared the genome sequence of the virus, and Chinese scientists have written many public papers on the virus, even if officials initially covered it up....
But China hawks see the pandemic as a chance to spotlight what they call the sinister nature of China’s Communist Party, turn international opinion against it and combat its anti-American conspiracy theories.
They include Mr. Pompeo, a hard-liner who employs the term “Wuhan virus” despite widespread criticism of that phrase, which incenses Chinese leaders. Mr. Pompeo has condemned Beijing for suppressing initial reports about the illness, including by local doctors whom the government reprimanded for posting about it on social media.
After blaming regrettable (if anecdotal) confrontations with Asian-Americans on a factually accurate label (“Asian-Americans also say the “Chinese virus” label has led to incidents of racial slurs and physical attacks.”), the story ended with a quote from (naturally) an Obama official, Ryan Hass.
“To be clear, there is much criticism to be levied against China, and there will be plenty of time for score-keeping,” he added. “But now is not that time.”
And perhaps never will be, at least at the Times.
The paper’s new media columnist Ben Smith got into the act during an excoriation of how some Fox News’ hosts initially covered the outbreak:
....they’re recapturing partisan momentum by picking a fight about race and political correctness, emphasizing the Chinese origins of the virus, with no apparent concern for inciting bias against Asians.