The Media Controls the 'Crisis'

The President, Congress, state governors and epidemiologists may argue about coronavirus policies, but the people driving matters are without constitutional authority or expertise of any kind -- the mainstream media and its social media accelerant.  No matter what the President and his experts want to do, or even his congressional and gubernatorial rivals, the media largely dictates the extent of public cooperation or panic, which is true power.

From the get-go, at least in the West, and especially in the United States, the coronavirus pandemic has been more a media event than anything else.  Coronavirus is a serious international public health concern, but the weight of evidence currently suggests that it is also not an unusually dangerous one

Moreover, it might have been a manageable public health concern had national and international authorities more quickly focused restrictions on China, in particular by limiting international travel.  President Trump attempted to do this initially, which led widespread media claims that this would hinder efforts to fight the Chinese outbreak.  Now, mainstream media outlets blame Trump for failing to adequately impose the ban. 

Had proper isolation been imposed upon China -- difficult in part because of that regime’s disinformation and outright lies--more countries could have shifted their domestic efforts to protect the limited population groups vulnerable to the virus.  That combined with extra—and if necessary massive -- support for hospitals and other facilities in stricken areas, could have obviated dramatic “mitigation” efforts.

Instead, the media—internationally and in the United States—quickly derailed the any hope of isolating China.  Once the virus arrived on American shores, it greatly exaggerated the virus’s likely morbidity and mortality.  To be sure, there were epidemiological models to support various “worst case” scenarios.  However, from the start, some experts advised caution against overreaction, suggesting that the dire predictions were overwrought.  Those people were right.

In theory, an objective media might have probed these disparities, but instead it simply latched onto the most dramatic and destructive ideations, dismissing anything else.  Then -- with social media platforms adding heat -- it stoked public hysteria to such an extent that governmental authorities were forced to take draconian public measures whether they wanted to or not. 

The “mitigation” restrictions now imposed upon most Americans raise serious constitutional concerns as government (at both the state and federal levels) expand its authority to impinge in unprecedented ways on constitutional rights, in particular of assembly and religion

But it’s important to recognize that while government at both the federal and state levels instituted this new authoritarianism, it did not instigate the takeover.  That was mostly the media. 

The media’s power is enormous, and unmitigated by constitutional checks and balances.  And it’s in the service of a party -- the Democrats -- not the government or the people.  Yet the media’s actions are entirely legal, and constitutionally protected, making it effectively unstoppable.  The founding fathers in their wisdom anticipated all manner of shenanigans that could undermine republican government, but it’s probably safe to say they did not see this one coming.

Underlying all the media generated hysteria over COVID-19 is the determination to undermine and if possible unseat President Trump, part and parcel of a campaign that’s been ongoing for three years. If bringing the country to its knees is the price of removing Trump, the media and their Democrat patrons are all in.

Will the American people put up with it?  Some analysts question how much restriction on their economic well-being and liberties the American people can take. 

Unfortunately, so far the answer appears to be however much the talking heads on morning talk shows, the evening news and late night decide.  They’ve largely convinced people that the virus is a serious threat, that sitting at home and playing video games is heroism, and agitating to go back to work is traitorous.  As long as people have ample food, cable connections, Wi-Fi, and hoarded toilet paper, subsidized by their employers or state and federal governments, most seem willing to go along with this socially economically catastrophic shutdown, perhaps indefinitely.     

Regardless of the epidemiological science or governmental initiatives, the “crisis” probably won’t end until the media itself starts running out of money, or has or gotten what it wants.  Television networks already have billions in secured ad revenue, but it won’t last forever if businesses are shut down.    As for what the media wants, that’s the crippling of Trump and the elevation of a hero to defeat him. 

Whether Trump’s been crippled remains to be seen, but the longer the “crisis” goes on the better the odds of that.  And the Democrats and media may have found their champion in Andrew Cuomo, who is now fairly ceaselessly being promoted.  Not coincidentally, the Washington Post and New York Times have decided after years of hesitation to report weakly substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct by Joe Biden.   

Even if Trump survives and the country rebounds, the media and Democrats can do it again.   Diseases (most far worse than coronavirus) arise regularly. It’s just that previously they were not promoted as public crises. Now they will be.  The media has the ability to effectively hamstring the country whenever it wants in service of its social and political ends.