PBS implies beloved humor icon may have died of coronavirus when that could not be the case

Lots of people and institutions have an ideological and financial stake in hyping panic over the death toll from the coronavirus.  The CDC has even admitted to fudging so as to maximize the reported death toll.  But nothing other than the loss of a loved one brings home the impact of the virus more than observing a beloved public figure who passes away due to the Wuhan flu.

Mort Drucker may not be a household name, but for many people like me, he was a key figure in the formation of the modern version of humor as the most prominent illustrator of Mad Magazine, the first periodical that I ever subscribed to.  Here he is seen autographing the 400th edition of Mad at a gala 20 years ago:

Photo credit: Gustavo Morales.

Mort was such an icon that George Lucas chose him to illustrate the movie poster for his iconic film, American Graffiti:

Via New York Times.

Yesterday, Mort passed away at the age of 91 owing to breathing difficulties.  But there is no way that he could have expired due to coronavirus:

"I’m sorry to say that Mort passed away last night," Drucker's friend John Reiner said. "I saw him last Friday-he was having trouble breathing- Was not the Coronavirus as he was quarantined for weeks with no other outside contact. Due to the current circumstances we can’t have a Shiva or service of any kind. Plans are cremation and a memorial later when things get back to normal."

Even CNN got the message and reported accurately:

Mort Drucker, whose distinctive caricatures of celebrities appeared in the pages of Mad Magazine for more than five decades, has died, according to tweets from the magazine and CNN's Jake Tapper. Drucker was 91.

Drucker's death was not a result of the novel coronavirus although he was having trouble breathing, Tapper tweeted.

So why would PBS report the story this way (emphasis added)? (quotation corrected)

Drucker’s daughter, Laurie Bachner, told The Associated Press that he fell ill last week, having difficulty walking and developing breathing problems. She did not give a specific cause of death and said that he was not tested for the coronavirus. He died at his home in Woodbury, New York, with his wife of more than 70 years, Barbara, by his side.

There are no specific lies here, but by noting breathing difficulties and the lack of a test, the publicly funded broadcaster is clearly implying that he may well be an uncounted victim of the coronavirus, a anecdotal counter to the reports of over-counting.

Perhaps it is merely coincidental that public broadcasting just got a $75-million windfall from the coronavirus stimulus bill?

Hat tip: Will O'Toole.

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