NYT Radically Changes COVID Coverage, Look What Its Editors Now Do


In the first two weeks of August, the United States saw a sizable uptick in its number of COVID cases.

The spike was nearly identical to another that occurred in November, save for one crucial difference — the death rate in August is considerably lower than its November counterpart.

Readers of The New York Times would not have known this, however.

Where the outlet covered COVID deaths extensively during the November spike, in August, the outlet has largely failed to report the much lower numbers.

Because of this, it appears that the Times is cherry-picking which COVID data points to cover based on which statistics will make the pandemic look worse.

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The Western Journal compared the Times’ coverage of the current uptick in COVID cases from Aug. 1 to Aug. 15 to the outlet’s coverage of the spike that occurred from Nov. 1 to Nov. 15 of 2020.

Both periods of time saw COVID cases rise in a similar fashion — from Aug. 1 to Aug. 15, cases rose from 241.52 to 394.89 per million people in the U.S., based on a seven-day rolling average, according to Our World in Data. Similarly, from Nov. 1 to Nov. 15, cases rose from 262.63 to 456.24 cases per million, on a seven-day rolling average.

However, as stated above, the number of deaths caused by COVID in August was much lower than the number of deaths in November.

In November, the number of COVID deaths per day, based on a seven-day rolling average, climbed from 2.6 deaths per million on Nov. 1 to 3.52 deaths per million on Nov. 15, as reported by Our World in Data.

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On Aug. 1, the number of COVID deaths per million, based on the same rolling average, was considerably lower at 1.1. By Aug. 15, that number had risen to 1.97.

For perspective, the average day in 2018 saw heart disease and cancer cause roughly 4.48 and 4.08 deaths per million people respectively, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics.

So, while cases were rising in August as they had in November, when it came to the number of actual COVID deaths, the more recent spike has not been nearly as deadly.

The New York Times has failed to mention this fact in its recent coverage. In fact, recent stories put out by the outlet have made virtually no mention of COVID deaths whatsoever.

Periodically, the outlet releases reports on the COVID pandemic titled, “Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today.”

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Ten such reports were published during both periods.

When deaths were high in November, those 10 reports featured relatively extensive coverage of COVID deaths. Eight of the 10 reports — released on Nov.4, Nov. 6 (two reports were released on that day), Nov. 9, Nov. 10, Nov. 11, Nov. 12 and Nov. 13 — either cited, mentioned or featured statistics related to COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.

Conversely, when deaths were lower in August, only one of the 10 reports — released on Aug. 13 — even mentioned the number of U.S. deaths caused by COVID-19.

Near the bottom of the article, there is one sentence saying, “Over the past week, the number of new COVID-19 deaths reported in the U.S. is up by 92 percent, to an average of 616 deaths per day.”

Despite the lower death numbers, the Times’ August reports depicted COVID-19 as an existential threat in much the same way it had in November.

When deaths were low, rather than admitting as much, the Times chose to avoid reporting on that fact.

The Western Journal reached out to the New York Times for comment regarding this story but did not receive a response in time for publication.

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Michael wrote for a number of entertainment news outlets before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter. He now manages the writing and reporting teams, overseeing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Michael Austin graduated from Iowa State University in 2019. During his time in college, Michael volunteered as a social media influencer for both PragerU and Live Action. After graduation, he went on to work as a freelance journalist for various entertainment news sites before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter.

Since then, Michael has been promoted to the role of Manager of Writing and Reporting. His responsibilities now include managing and directing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University
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