Sunday, August 2, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He complained that the news wasn't covering the COVID-19 outbreaks he read about in the news.

Trump, in a tweet using his favorite racial slur for COVID-19, complained today that the "fake news" wasn't covering outbreaks in countries "thought to have done a great job." His tweet linked to one citing a rise in cases in Australia.

Looking exclusively at stories published on Australia's coronavirus situation in the week before Trump's tweet at 7:35 A.M. this morning, it was covered by ABC News, CBS NewsCNN, NBC News, the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA TodayReuters, Bloomberg News, the Associated PressAl Jazeera, The Hill, Vox Media, and even the sports network ESPN, to say nothing of dozens if not hundreds of other news outlets.

Incidentally, this is how the two countries' respective new outbreaks look, on a per capita basis.

This follows on from a similar tweet yesterday, in which Trump specifically demanded attention be paid to "Italy, France & Spain," and another one on Friday, in which he falsely implied that Europe as a whole was not doing well. (It's doing much better than the United States, if you see people not dying as a good thing.)

The first wave of the pandemic hit the U.S. and those three countries roughly equally hard, but European governments instituted much stricter quarantine rules. Here are the per capita death rates for the last two months.

The more than 158,000 American deaths known to have been caused by COVID-19 are about 22% of the world's total death toll. The United States has about 4% of the world's population.

Why does this matter?

  • Even if other countries were botching this as badly as Trump is, that wouldn't make Trump's handling of it any better.
  • Presidents who can't or won't acknowledge their own failures can't fix them.
  • If you want to criticize the news media, it's probably a good idea to read it first.