What Have the Media Gotten Wrong (and Right) During Coronavirus?

Plus a round-up of zero-tolerance corona crackdowns


Once-a-century pandemics may place the most acute stress on the infected and those who care for them, but every sector of government and civil society come under strain too. So how has the Fourth Estate performed during these nationally and personally challenging times? The record is decidedly mixed, argue Nick Gillespie, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Peter Suderman, and Matt Welch on the new Reason Roundtable podcast.

So is the record of the government that those journalists cover. The gang discusses zero-tolerance enforced-distancing madness from Michigan to Mississippi, from Pennsylvania to the beaches of southern California. They also take a peek at proposed post-lockdown surveillance states to come. At least we all have time to read dystopian fiction about pandemics while watching The Prisoner!

Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor.

'Over Time' by Audionautix is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Relevant links from the show:

"No, NYC Is Not Running Out of Burial Space Due to COVID-19," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"U.K. Media Lobby Wants Government To Force Advertisers to Support Coronavirus Coverage," by Scott Shackford

"Donald Trump's Experiment in Radical Press Transparency Is Ugly and Praiseworthy," by Nick Gillespie

"Why You Shouldn't Trust Anyone Who Claims 80 Percent of America's Drugs Come From China," by Eric Boehm

"Religious Freedom Clashes With Public Health Enforcers," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"Trump Has Secret Emergency Powers?" by Ronald Bailey

"Banning Alcohol Sales During the COVID-19 Pandemic Is a Terrible Idea," by Baylen Linnekin

"The Surveillance State Thrives During the Pandemic," by J.D. Tuccille

"Elizabeth Warren and Josh Hawley Will Do Everything Necessary To Combat Coronavirus (Unless It Involves Deregulation)," by Christian Britschgi

"Will Coronavirus Fears Lead to an Assault on Gun Rights?" by J.D. Tuccille

"Florida City Closes Barbershops Because of Coronavirus, but the Cops Are Still Getting Haircuts," by Robby Soave

"3 Ways New York Botched the Coronavirus Response in March," by Matt Welch

"As More Death Data Becomes Available, COVID-19 Looks Less and Less Like the Flu," by Ronald Bailey

"Flawed Economic Policies Will Exacerbate the Pandemic," by Veronique de Rugy

NEXT: Rick Doblin: 'People Should Have the Fundamental Human Right To Change Their Consciousness'

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  1. They got the panic wrong, they got the numbers wrong, they sucked China's cock just to the point of orgasm before suddenly pulling back, then blamed Trump for their chapped lips and watery eyes and, finally, broke their arms patting themselves on the back for their balanced coverage of the devastating economic pandemic they created in order to generate clicks.

    1. You missed the fear and terror surrounding the side effects of hydrochloroquinine, a drug that's been around since the 1950s.

      1. Yea, well, I was going for balanced criticism. I had no intention of triggering anyone. I was trying to responsible, and you should be as well before you break all norms and type the "H" word. You never know who could read this thread and run to their garage to gargle some fish tank cleaner.

  2. Here's lie Ken should appreciate:

    "Trump lied when he said he didn't know about his trade adviser Peter Navarro's memo of Jan. 29, in which Navarro made the stark prediction that there could be half a million deaths and severe economic devastation. Because of all the infighting within Trump's White House, Trump and his inner circle dismissed many of these concerns as China-hawk paranoia, which Trump was in no mood to hear because he was desperate to make a trade agreement with President Xi Jinping that he could use to prove his dealmaking prowess in the upcoming election."

    1. I don't blame Trump for not listening to Navarro, the guy is almost always wrong. I do blame Trump for appointing Navarro.

      1. Who would you have picked, and why?

        1. Unless you’re expecting some dishonest bullshit don’t hold your breath on an answer.

    2. "Trump lied when he said he didn’t know about his trade adviser Peter Navarro’s memo of Jan. 29, in which Navarro made the stark prediction that there could be half a million deaths and severe economic devastation..."

      Navarro seems like a stopped-clock; those half mill are looking like less than 1/5th that number.

    3. This is fucking retarded...but at least you listed the date of navarros memo.

      January 29th.

      18 days prior the cdc issued a travel advisory for Wuhan and surrounding areas.

      2 days later trump implemented the Chinese travel ban.


      So Trump ignored the memo...yet he followed its guidance only 2 days later?

      You fucking retards are bitching about 2 days lmao. How fucking stupid can you be?

  3. So how has the Fourth Estate performed during these nationally and personally challenging times?

    I haven't seen any numbers, but that's an interesting question. You might think that with more people locked inside and fewer people venturing out, TV and web-based sources would see a bump in advertising revenue while print-based sources that rely on news stand sales would see a slump. But with so many businesses being shut down, advertising budgets altogether would be cut and so maybe TV and web-based sources are hurting just the same as their print-based brethren.

    Oh, you mean how have they performed in terms of delivering the news to people? No, see, that's not actually their purpose. Their purpose is to make money, they make money by selling advertising, the more eyeballs they can attract, the more they can charge for the advertising. A successful news operation isn't the one who can tell the most truth, it's the one that can attract the most eyeballs. It's why "Naked Swedish Bikini Model Caught On Film Jogging Through Central Park" is considered a much better headline than "UN Declares Territorial Dispute Between China And India Poses "Grave" Threat Of Nuclear War".

  4. should be lampposted en masse for putting that idiot Cuomo on tv every.fucking.morning.

    even the soccer moms should be questioning why he can't get his state's shit together but instead he's New Biden wtf?

    1. He is the new Biden. This is how they created Obama .

  5. "What Have the Media Gotten Wrong (and Right) During Coronavirus?"

    Everything (and Nothing).

  6. The treasonous MSM used a cough due to cold to attempt to nuke the US economy, incited a panic that led to massive preventable unemployment, and advocated the use the police state to go all tyrannical to enforce unconstitutional governor dictates.

  7. The MSM were liars and anti-American before the Kingflu hysteria.

    The MSM are still liars and anti-American.

    1. This is one area we agree, 1789. The MSM has been atrocious. POTUS Trump correctly called out MSM for their coverage yesterday with the 'cytoclip storm'. The NYT is blatantly anti-American.

  8. My favorite part is the passive aggressive finger wagging the local media does when they’re talking about people with the temerity to live their lives in a way that isn’t in exact accordance with the governor’s diktats.

    Recently, a local news station wrote something like this: Governor Beshear believes we are defeating this virus and most people are staying inside.

    But not everyone is being a team player.

  9. The usual puerile discussion. Look elsewhere for adult conversation.

  10. "So how has the Fourth Estate performed during these nationally and personally challenging times?"

    There is no such thing as the 'Fourth Estate' in a free country which the US used to be. The 1st amendment applies to all persons. It should apply to Wikileaks, the president, bloggers and myself. It is quite disturbing that people use the word 'press' or the phrase 'fourth estate' in reference to a collection of long-established newspapers and broadcasters as though they're THE press. They aren't.

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