Matthew Yglesias, one of the co-founders of liberal outlet Vox, has some explaining to do on masks.
Vox, like everyone else, was pretty much spouting the same advice just a few weeks ago: Don’t buy surgical masks. They were supposed to be useless in preventing coronavirus from spreading, we were told.
In fact, as part of a Twitter thread from the digital rag early in March, they advised against them.
The first piece of advice in the thread was about washing your hands.
The second piece: “Oh, and face masks? You can pass on them. Masks are only useful if you have a respiratory infection already and want to limit the risk of spreading, or if you’re working in a hospital in direct contact with people who have respiratory illnesses.”
2/ Oh, and face masks? You can pass on them.
Masks are only useful if you have a respiratory infection already and want to limit the risk of spreading, or if you’re working in a hospital in direct contact with people who have respiratory illnesses. https://t.co/IEFrOOxEkE pic.twitter.com/XC2LN8qZJm
— Vox (@voxdotcom) March 2, 2020
Yglesias had not only discouraged the use of face masks but seemed to actively call for them to be “rationed” if that was necessary to protect health care workers’ access to them:
I have never understood this message — are the masks ineffective or are they vital for health care workers? If it’s the latter shouldn’t we explicitly ration rather than trying to discourage purchases informally? https://t.co/ZSUhR1QWGW
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) February 29, 2020
As you may know by now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its guidance on wearing face masks Friday.
One day before that, Yglesias had a message for his followers: He was having issues wearing the face mask he assumedly bought on the free market:
(I have it with me in case it’s needed but it fogs up my glasses)
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) April 2, 2020
Well, I mean, surely he got lucky amid the panic buyers across the nation and managed to score himself some incredibly scarce surgical masks, right?
To people asking where you can buy a mask, I don’t know. I ordered mine in February when they were available.
But here’s a guide to making one at home. https://t.co/YH4YMnDKJf
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) April 2, 2020
In February. Hrm.
Yglesias isn’t the most popular person on social media at the moment, as you can no doubt imagine.
Look at this little trust fund gremlin. It’s difficult to imagine anything more unethical from a media outlet. pic.twitter.com/vKyfWdQcOI
— The Partyman (@PartymanRandy) April 3, 2020
“I ordered mine in February when they were available.”
But Matt, you guys published an article making fun of techbros for being worried about the virus in February…https://t.co/kFCjEMcoir
— Jayson Virissimo (@JaysonVirissimo) April 2, 2020
I’m glad that you got your mask while your publication downplayed the threat of coronavirus and repeated BS claims about masks. Great work!
— Nerove (@MrNerove) April 2, 2020
Wait… “When they were still available”? Weren’t you nice folks at Vox telling the public not to use masks when you ordered yours? pic.twitter.com/xWGbplHGiz
— Hans O’Low (@namasteinyrlane) April 3, 2020
Yglesias had an explanation for this, since of course he did:
Since everyone is feeling chippy these days, I think:
a) The early US government guidance on masks was obviously very bad
b) “Masks are only helpful if you’re already sick” even if true is very consistent with “you should own a mask in case you get sick.” https://t.co/BiUUlGOvxm
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) April 3, 2020
“Obviously?” Your publication was parroting that guidance!
Vox was telling people in early March that they didn’t need to wear face masks when you had bought yours the month prior.
Now that we’ve cleared all that up, got advice for his problem, folks? Those glasses aren’t gonna de-fog themselves, after all.
How expendable does Yglesias think the plebes are?
When it comes to the original guidance Vox gave on masks, who knows how much input he had on it? He’s not a health reporter, but he is on the editorial team.
I would thus assume he certainly knew of his publication’s position on the matter.
He’d also made it a point to say that if the masks needed to be used for medical professionals, they should be rationed. Except in his case, of course.
The tone-deafness of his first tweet was astounding, particularly in light of what Vox had to say about the masks and the fact one can’t be had for love or (especially) money these days. Yeah, he was into face masks before they were cool.
And then, after that landed with a thud, he responded with a tweet that really needed a shrug emoji and “#sorrynotsorry” appended on it.
“Since everyone is feeling chippy these days,” Matt?
I wonder why that is.
Perhaps you can elucidate your theories on this strange conundrum.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.