The New York Times mangles facts to attack Fox News
The New York Times has published an egregious attack against Fox News. Ginia Bellafante argues that a New York bar-owner died from the Wuhan virus because Fox News and Sean Hannity said it isn't a risk. Aside from that accusation being untrue, Bellafante's argument ignores the fact that Hannity made his statements after the bar-owner made his fatal choice. Only by rewinding time and playing it backward can Bellafante's article make even a little sense.
Bellafante openly blames the victim for his own death because he was a conservative:
A Beloved Bar Owner Was Skeptical About the Virus. Then He Took a Cruise.
Joe Joyce oversaw JJ Bubbles, a welcoming tavern in a conservative corner of Brooklyn, for 43 years until he died of Covid-19.
The article begins by talking about what a great guy Joe was — and he certainly does sound like a good man. He was a gregarious person who overcame a tough childhood to open a bar that became a popular Bay Ridge hangout for 43 years and to raise a successful family. All was good "until the cruelest interventions of the pandemic, last month."
According to Bellafante, the Wuhan virus was only the last link in the chain that killed Joe. The first link was that "Joe Joyce was a Trump supporter who chose selectively from the menu of current Republican ideologies, freely rejecting what didn't suit him."
Joe's fatal decision-making, says Bellafante, resulted because he failed to respect the real media:
Last year, Vice Media went to JJ Bubbles and other bars in Bay Ridge to talk to supporters of the current president and landed on some of these ambiguities, discovering for instance the guy who admired Pete Buttigieg as much as he loved Donald Trump. Where these kinds of voters align is not in the right's hatred of the marginalized but in its distrust of the news. If the "liberal" media was telling us that a plague was coming and that it would be devastating, why should anyone believe it? Joe Joyce had his skepticism.
If only Joe had listened to the "liberal" media, Bellafante implies, he'd be alive! She leaves it to one of Joe's children to draw the correct conclusion:
On March 1, Joe Joyce and his wife, Jane, set sail for Spain on a cruise, flying first to Florida. His adult children — Kevin, Eddie and Kristen Mider — suggested that the impending doom of the coronavirus made this a bad idea. Joe Joyce was 74, a nonsmoker, healthy; four years after he opened his bar he stopped drinking completely. He didn't see the problem.
"He watched Fox, and believed it was under control," Kristen told me.
Early in March Sean Hannity went on air proclaiming that he didn't like the way that the American people were getting scared "unnecessarily.'' He saw it all, he said, "as like, let's bludgeon Trump with this new hoax."
So many lies. First, Bellafante repeats the "Trump said coronavirus is a hoax" lie. Trump said the media's latest hoax was to blame him for the coronavirus, just as they'd falsely blamed him for colluding with Russia and Ukraine.
Second, Bellafante lies when she smoothly says Sean Hannity spoke "[e]arly in March," implying that, but for Hannity's words on March 1, the day Joe boarded the plane, Joe would have stayed safely at home. (Bellafante only later acknowledges that New York is the city with America's highest Wuhan virus death rate.)
Bellafante leaves something out of her report: on February 27, when Joe would have been making decisions, Bellafante was tweeting about how harmless the Wuhan virus was:
I fundamentally don't understand the panic: incidence of the disease is declining in China. Virus is not deadly in vast majority of cases. Production and so on will slow down and will obviously rebound. cc: @opinion_joe— Ginia Bellafante (@GiniaNYT) February 27, 2020
And what about Sean Hannity? Was he urging Joe to make a dangerous trip on March 1, the very day Joe boarded the ship? No, he wasn't. Bellafante, when quoting Sean Hannity, is quoting from a March 9 show, long after Joe had left for his cruise. Moreover, Hannity is using the word "hoax" in the same way Trump did — that is, he's not calling the virus a hoax; he's calling the attacks on Trump a hoax:
HANNITY, March 9: "This scaring the living hell out of people -- I see it, again, as like, let's bludgeon Trump with this new hoax."— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 19, 2020
HANNITY, March 18: "By the way, this program has always taken the coronavirus seriously. We've never called the virus a hoax." pic.twitter.com/yLKpojA7BI
We’ve come to expect dishonesty from the New York Times, but this takes the cake. First, Bellafante ignored her own culpability for playing down the Wuhan virus's death. (At that time Trump and his task force took it very seriously.)
Second, and worse, Bellafante warped the space-time continuum so she could blame Fox News for someone's death. After all, Joe's fatal decision-making occurred long before Fox News's allegedly wrongful conduct. By messing with time, the Times managed to boldly go where no newspaper has gone before — and that's a bad thing.
Hat tip: Instapundit.