Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, March 20, 2020
The World Health Organization (WHO) first reported on the spread of a previously-unknown virus on Dec. 31, 2019. The virus was linked to a number of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, a city in Eastern China.
The WHO officially named the virus COVID-19.
Researchers from the University of Southampton found that China could have prevented 95 percent of coronavirus infections if it had taken measures to contain the outbreak sooner.
If that doesn’t put the onus squarely on China, what does?
So, why are so many in the U.S. corporate media so insistent that referring to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” or the “Wuhan coronavirus” is racist?
MSNBC anchor John Heilemann said on air Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s use of the term “Chinese virus” is “nakedly racist and obviously racist and blatantly racist.”
CNN opinion writer Jill Filipovic argued Wednesday that using the term “Chinese virus” was “xenophobic racism,” and compared it to scapegoating European Jews for the Black Death.
The corporate media’s rush to label the terms as “racist” immediately followed Chinese government propaganda which denounced “racist” attempts to link the virus to China.
Washington Post photographer Jabin Botsford snapped a photo of Trump’s notes as he spoke to reporters at Thursday’s coronavirus task force briefing. The enlarged photo shows Trump crossed out “Corona” and added “Chinese” before the word “virus.”
“Can anyone blame him?” RedState columnist Elizabeth Vaughn noted. “Why is it such a problem for the media that the President calls the coronavirus the Chinese virus? Do they believe Xi’s propaganda? Do they really think that U.S. soldiers transported the virus to China? Why are they allowing themselves to be useful idiots for communists? Where did this virus originate? In China.”
At Thursday’s coronavirus task force briefing, OAN reporter Chanel Rion noted that reporters who “work right here at the White House” are “consistently siding with foreign state propaganda, Islamic radicals, and Latin gangs and cartels.” Rion asked Trump if he felt the term “Chinese food” was racist.
Trump accused the media of “siding with China.” He said, “I think they do. They are siding with China. They are doing things that they shouldn’t be doing. They’re siding with many others. China’s the least of it. So why are they doing this, you’ll have to ask them. If we had an honest media in this country, our country would be an even greater place.”
Fox News host Martha MacCallum may have had the best response yet to the cries of “racism” over calling the virus from China a Chinese virus.
Joe Biden’s senior adviser, Symone Sanders, appeared on MacCallum’s show on March 18 and claimed that Trump calling the coronavirus a “Chinese virus” is a “racial slur.”
MacCallum called Sanders out, asking why was it racist, citing “MERS” which is also named after the place of origin “Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome.”
MacCallum said she had just spoken with an “amazing scholar on China” who said that China has tried to obfuscate over the virus from the beginning, that they’ve “lied and lied and lied from the beginning.” “Why is it not OK to recognize where it originated?” MacCallum asked the Biden adviser.
Sanders continued to bluster about people finding it offensive but never really explained why.
“No one is suggesting that American Chinese people are responsible,” MacCallum said. “Every thinking human being who looks at this understands that the reference is to the origin of the virus and also the leadership in terms how that virus was handled in the country of origin. Come on.”
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) March 19, 2020