Editors at Issues and Insights critique mainstream media outlets’ role in promoting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Are we alone in feeling as if the media are enthusiastic cheerleaders of the coronavirus pandemic? We can’t be the only ones who sense the glee with which the news about the body count, the Democrats’ wailing over the president’s handling of the crisis, and the “new normal” are delivered across our screens. Nor is it possible that no one else is noticing that the states that believe reopening is necessary to survival are being portrayed as communities of rubes who deserve to suffer the sting of mass death.

The coronavirus coverage goes beyond the “if it bleeds it leads” tenet of sensationalized media coverage. It’s a handy means for them to extend the cultural and political divides that have made the 50 states less united than they have been in any of our lifetimes. To paraphrase Col. Nathan R. Jessup, they want COVID-19 death, they need COVID-19 death.

The media elitists are culture warriors of the worst sort . After Georgia revealed in late April its plans to reopen, Dana Milbank’s Washington Post column was headlined “Georgia leads the race to become America’s No. 1 Death Destination.” A few days later, The Atlantic said the state was beginning an experiment in “human sacrifice.” The message is that the red states are lousy with hicks who don’t care about human lives, even their own.

Like all good crusaders, the media aren’t straying from the campaign. Shortly after some restrictions were lifted, The Hill reported: “More than 1,000 new coronavirus cases were diagnosed the day Gov. (Brian) Kemp reopened Georgia.” Other outlets took an Associated Press report and wrote similar headlines.

Of course not a single one of those cases was in any way related to the reopening.

Follow Carolina Journal Online’s continuing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic here.