Mike Weinberger: Media, Opportunistic Politicians Deserve Blame for Coronavirus Coverage


With each passing day, the estimates of the so-called “experts” of how badly we would be hit by the coronavirus come under increased scrutiny.

On Wednesday, for example, The Wall Street Journal reported that the University of Washington projected nearly 84,000 deaths by early August. Just days earlier, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said we could see 100,000 – 200,000 deaths.

Yet there have only been about 10,700 deaths in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins, and there is already anecdotal evidence that the disease will peak in a week or two. So is it really likely to produce the number of deaths that Fauci projected?

In addition, we don’t know how many deaths were truly caused by the virus. For example, if an 83-year-old lung cancer survivor who smoked for 50 years is hospitalized with pneumonia and tests positive for the virus, and he subsequently dies, was his death really caused by the virus? One may doubt it.

While the coronavirus has no doubt wreaked havoc on many — and will do so on many more — there is a spirit of hysteria in the country.

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So how did the hysteria get started? I submit it was a function of several factors.

One was the scary picture of Chinese Dr. Li Wenliang wearing a respirator right before he died. That picture flooded the airwaves and internet in early February, which coincidentally was only a few days after President Trump was acquitted in the impeachment farce.

Trump haters took one look at that picture and said: Here is our new TAA — our new “Trump Attack Angle.” The Mueller angle didn’t work, nor did Ukraine, Russia, Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti or Michael Cohen, but maybe this one will.

So they started attacking Trump over his response to the coronavirus. Of course their attack wasn’t logical, but since when did the sufferers of Trump Derangement Syndrome feel bound by the restraints of logic?

Do you think opportunistic politicians have exacerbated public concern about the coronavirus?

Then the mainstream media hopped on board, motivated by two things.

First, they also hate Trump, and second, they love stories that promote disasters.

As the old saying goes, “if it bleeds it leads.” That’s why the mainstream media loves to talk about hurricanes, floods and medical disasters — anything that grabs the attention of the public in a shocking and arresting fashion.

Heck, that’s what pays their bills. How else can they sell advertising? By offering intelligent and rational reporting of actual facts, without bias? Please, don’t make me laugh.

And then, following the mainstream media just like a dog follows his owner, the politicians jumped on board. They, too, love attention. They love being on television every day and they love issuing orders, directives and proclamations.

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That’s why they entered politics in the first place. Do you think most of them want to get things done and improve lives? Again, don’t make me laugh. Our modern political class is motivated by their love of P&A — Power and Attention. They gladly embrace destructive policies if it gets them P&A.

And that, in my opinion, is how we got here.

By halting so much economic activity we have essentially stopped a giant wagon train with 10,000 pioneers on board right in the middle of a vast desert. Why? Because 10 people are ill.

Sure, you’d like to save those 10, but stopping in the desert and running out of food and water imperils the lives of the remaining 9,990.

That’s just crazy, and we need to force the train masters to get our economic train moving again, right now.

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Mike Weinberger is a retired attorney and businessman who served as president of the Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society in New York City in the 1980s. He now lives in Louisiana, where he founded the Home Defense Foundation ( and co-founded the Committee for a Common Sense Judiciary (