NY Times Pandemic Propagandist Has 5 Million Readers, Including POTUS
COVID-19 minimizer David Leonhardt has millions of readers and influences White House policy. His newsletter puts the most vulnerable at risk.
Public health reporter Joanne Kenen writes about David Leonhardt, author of "The Morning" newsletter for The New York Times, whose fans include Joe Biden.
Kenen explains that Leonhardt is under fire for spreading COVID-19 misinformation:
Notable doctors and scientists have written to the Times, individually or in groups, to poke holes in Leonhardt’s coverage of the pandemic. They say that he cherry-picks sources and data, giving too much weight to people who may have medical expertise but not on infectious disease; that he argues strenuously for open schools but downplays the Covid risks for kids as well as their role in spreading the virus; that he held out Britain’s vaccination strategy as a model (right before the U.K. itself reversed course); that he underestimates how many Americans — not all over age 65 — are at elevated risk or live with people at elevated risk.
Leonhardt’s influence on White House policy is disturbing:
Leonhardt recently took to Twitter to make the bizarre claim that “millions of Democrats have decided that organizing their lives around Covid is core to their identity as progressives.”
Dr. Cecilia Tomori, Director of Global Public Health and Community Health at Johns Hopkins, takes Leonhardt to task:
It's amazing that someone who has consistently minimized the impacts of COVID and has expressed little concern for those dying or suffering, or becoming disabled from COVID continues to have the opportunity to claim authority about this topic. To argue that we should just get on with life because boosted individuals (like himself) face relatively low personal risk of death from the virus misses so much. The entire framing is wrong. Infectious diseases are inherently about social interaction. And people do not exist as islands - they live in families, communities and interact with others. These interactions involve vaccinated (1, 2, or 3 doses) and unvaccinated people.
I’ve written at length about the duopoly’s unconscionable strategy of downplaying COVID-19 in order to keep the capitalist machine humming:
Both pandemic presidents have prioritized corporate interests above human lives, placing profit over public safety — with predictable results: “The top 1% gained over $6.5 trillion in corporate equities and mutual fund wealth during the pandemic.” Falsely claiming Omicron is mild has led to one of the most egregious and reckless public policies in recent memory: forcing workers and children into the flames of a raging virus that has unknown long-term effects. No words can capture the callousness of current U.S. government policy, which amounts to “let them work and go to school, get sick, contract long COVID, and in some cases, die.”
Minimizing COVID-19, as Leonhardt and the White House have done, harms populations that are more vulnerable to the virus, including millions who are disabled or immunocompromised. As NPR phrases it, “There's one population that gets overlooked by an 'everyone will get COVID' mentality.”
Downplaying the pandemic also ignores the debilitating effects of long COVID on all groups. In the New Republic, Melody Schreiber writes:
Not everyone is worried about their personal demise. They may instead be worried about spreading the virus to elderly or immune-compromised people or to children who aren’t eligible or allowed to get vaccinated, or they may be concerned about overwhelming hospitals, developing a “mild” course of Covid that nevertheless leads to long-term illness or disability, missing work while sick, losing childcare after they or their kids test positive, or falling behind in school. The choice isn’t a binary between being afraid for one’s own personal safety or carrying on. Mass death isn’t inevitable; being concerned about the vulnerable or the course of the pandemic as whole isn’t pathological.
While liberals attack podcast host Joe Rogan for spreading virus misinformation, they ignore offenders with even larger platforms: the ruling parties and “legitimate” media figures like David Leonhardt. Thankfully, many people see through the propaganda: