Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on March 29 criticized U.S. media outlets for reporting the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) official data on its COVID-19 cases as fact.
Rubio said Sunday that media reports stating that the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States had surpassed China were “grotesque.” He called them “bad journalism.”
Some in our media can’t contain their glee & delight in reporting that the U.S. has more #CoronaVirus cases than #China
Beyond being grotesque,its bad journalism
We have NO IDEA how many cases China really has but without any doubt its significantly more than why they admit to
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 29, 2020
“Some in our media can’t contain their glee & delight in reporting that the U.S. has more #CoronaVirus cases than #China,” he wrote on Twitter. “Beyond being grotesque, its [sic] bad journalism.”
“We have NO IDEA how many cases China really has but without any doubt its [sic] significantly more than why [sic] they admit to,” he added.
A tracking map published by Johns Hopkins University, which relies on official government data, shows at press time that the United States has 142,502 confirmed CCP virus cases, compared to China, which has an official confirmed case total of 82,149.
The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China before it was transmitted worldwide.
Rubio’s comments came after President Donald Trump on Thursday expressed his doubts about official data provided by the CCP that is quoted without challenge in many media reports.
“You don’t know what the numbers are in China,” the president said when asked by a reporter whether he was surprised that the United States has surpassed China in the number of cases of the CCP virus.
Trump said that he thinks the increase in cases being reported in the United States is “a tribute to the testing—we’re testing tremendous numbers of people … We’re doing tremendous testing.”
“I’m sure you’re not able to tell what China is testing or not testing,” Trump told the reporter. “I think that’s a little hard.”
According to The Epoch Times’ investigations, China’s actual number of cases and deaths from the CCP virus are likely to be more than 10 times higher than what is being reported.
Meanwhile, residents from China’s Wuhan, where the global pandemic first spread, told RFA they are sceptical that the official CCP figure of some 2,500 deaths in the city is accurate, given that incinerators “…have been working round the clock.”
Separately, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response director suggested at a Coronavirus Task Force briefing last week that the media is frightening Americans by reporting on extreme results from COVID-19 models which have predicted the death of millions due to the pandemic under circumstances where no precautionary measure are taken.
“Models are models,” Dr. Deborah Birx said, adding that they “don’t match the reality on the ground” in the United States given the government’s social distancing efforts. Birx stressed that the estimates are based on models which do not consider such ongoing efforts to slow the spread of the virus worldwide.
“The numbers that have been put out there are actually very frightening to people,” she said during the briefing.
Rubio’s comments were met with mixed reactions from journalists, with some calling on the Florida senator to remove his tweet.
“The idea that journalists are cheering on the coronavirus pandemic is extremely stupid,” wrote BuzzFeed News reporter Rosie Gray. “Our industry is about to get devastated by the economic downturn and journalists are getting sick just like everyone else. No one wants this to be happening.”
Others however suggested the media dig deeper into the CCP’s official COVID-19 statistics.
“If only reporters had the same energy digging into China’s numbers as they display digging into @marcorubio’s tweet calling them out for ignoring the truth,” Regan Battalion wrote.