Biden's CDC chief delivers grim public service message with bizarre continuous smile
At a time when Americans are starting to suspect a COVID-industrial complex with an entrenched interest in permanent lockdowns, out comes Joe Biden with a very bizarre video tweet from his newly appointed CDC director:
The unmasked woman with the strange, smirking, mirthless grin, making that grim message about COVID having no end in sight and calling for everyone to wear a mask is Biden's appointment to the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
Who the heck delivers news like that with that bizarre kind of extended smile? And worse still, the head bobbing, and that flippant giggly ending? That's the image she wants to project as the calm, knowledgable, trustworthy top doctor? Even Dr. Anthony Fauci was pretty good at putting that act on. Her strange smile suggests that apparently she thinks her audience is stupid.
Instead of seeming like someone medically trustworthy, she comes off as kind of a screwball commercial actor, insincere but grinning, or else a lowly customer service representative spouting the company line, or worst of all, maybe someone who likes the sort of situation she's touting with a commercial interest in permanent lockdowns.
That's bad, because it's what the public already is suspecting.
It's fine and dandy to mouth well-known platitudes about wearing masks for a public service video. But it's also late to the party, given that the public already doing it, suggesting someone just a little out of touch. After all, Americans are bombarded with these messages, every billboard near a hospital has one and every television set blares them, but to do it once more, this time with that huge grin, that bobbing head, and that long, continuous unstopping wide open smile, as if this were the happiest thing in the world instead of a failure of public health, is kind of clown-creepy. At a minimum, it's different.
Perhaps she has bad public relations skills, perhaps it's her first moment in public, and she doesn't know how to communicate persuasively. Perhaps the public relations spin team was unable to train her. But the smile in her video is obviously fake, which makes it corrosive to winning public trust. And given that she's a doctor, with Harvard credentials no less, it's also strikingly unprofessional.
In her acceptance statement to the press for her CDC job, she did want you to know she was serious:
I am proud to join this agency, and I recognize the seriousness of the moment. The toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on America is truly heartbreaking — for the loss of our loved ones and our beloved ways of life. At Massachusetts General Hospital, I saw firsthand the many difficulties this pandemic brings to our frontline workers and first responders, hospitals and public health systems, communities, and loved ones.
Which kind of sounds like the lady doth protest too much.
It reminds me of an incident from 1998, when I lived in Singapore, and the news of the day was the great Asian multi-state economic crisis triggered reputedly by George Soros.
Indonesia at the time was forced to sign a very bitter IMF agreement for a government bailout that impoverished Indonesian voters and carried a heavy price to the country's prized sovereignty (Indonesia, recall, post-World War II, fought a war for its independence). IMF Managing Director, Michel Camdessus, an arrogant French socialist, stood over the bowed head of Indonesia's then-president, Suharto, and made a big Cheshire cat grin. I found one Getty image of picture, of Suharto bowed and Camdessus with his armed folded above looking somber. It's possible the big Cheshire cat images have since been scrubbed, because that grinning smile as Camdessus towered over Suharto was a huge public relations liability. It certainly didn't endear Indonesians to the IMF. And yes, those gargantuan toothy 'smile' images of Camdessus triumphing over Suharto were all over the press at the time.
The same happened in South Korea with that country's 1998 IMF bailout package. Camdessus smiled over Korea's leaders as they signed, and that too didn't go over well with the public. Smiling in such a way is looked on as a kind of scorn and that was how the South Korean public interpreted it.
It looks like maybe retweeter Biden, who was around in 1998, took that as a model, not a warning.
Image: Twitter video screen shot.