This scandal has to be the last, no this scandal has to be the last, no this scandal has to be …

Since Tuesday, America has been caught up in the effort to process the fact that Donald Trump wasn’t simply ignorant and bull-headed when it came to failing to address the coronavirus pandemic. Trump was fully aware of the danger, repeatedly briefed on necessary actions, and fully cognizant of what was required to save American lives. He choose to … go another way. A way that involved repeatedly lying to the nation and talking about how the virus would “just disappear” even as he was privately admitting that he knew better.

That admitted lie is so shocking that it’s hard to remember that, just a week ago, the nation was busy being shocked to learn about the depth of Trump’s disdain for veterans. Multiple sources both within the White House and the military confirmed that Trump had not only displayed incredible disdain for John McCain, but for fallen soldiers at a military cemetery, calling them “suckers” and “losers.” Even Fox News had no problem confirming the story. Trump even explained to military leaders—military leaders—that he didn’t want veterans in his parade, because he found amputees unsightly.

A week before that was the news that the Department of Homeland Security had deliberately covered up evidence that Russia was working behind the scenes of the 2020 election to assist Trump with false claims about Joe Biden’s competence. That effort included dismissing the official in charge of counterintelligence, telling Congress they would get no more briefings on election security, and refusing to hand over standard reports. All while Trump was not only continuing to lean on the Russian talking points, but making racist claims about Kamala Harris. And in the middle of all this, snippets from Michael Cohen’s book suggested that not only had Trump extorted support from a televangelist with threats of revealing a pool boy three-way, but he gave a pretty good indication that the Russian “pee tape” is a real thing. 

There’s a reason the Fascism Watch ticked down to midnight back on Jan. 31. That’s when Republican senators made it clear that Trump was free to do anything he pleased, no matter how odious. America might not have gotten that message. Trump already knew it. 

It wasn’t until Feb. 6 that the Senate actually voted to give Donald Trump an official pass, despite a mound of evidence that he had used his high office to extort a foreign power into lying about a political opponent under threat of withholding military and economic assistance. It was exactly the sort of abuse of power available only to the White House. Exactly the kind of crime for which impeachment was created. There is not the slightest shred of doubt that Trump did it. But Republicans not only refused to hold Trump accountable—on Jan. 31 they made it clear that they would not even allow a single witness to speak in Trump’s “trial.” They didn’t care about Trump’s misuse of power. They didn’t care about lying to both Congress and the public. They just “owned the libs,” gave themselves a high five, and went on vacation.

Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans handed Donald Trump not just an absolute pass, but a clear signal that they would neither hold him to account for any action, nor challenge any statement he made. Why is it then any surprise that the next day Trump felt free to say that COVID-19 would go away in April? Why is it any surprise that Trump decided to cancel a planned national testing strategy because he thought COVID-19 would kill more people in Democratic states? What possible reason would there be for Trump to not cooperate with Russia in planting rumors about Biden? It’s not like anyone is going to do something about it. 

And, of course, why shouldn’t Trump feel free to lie about COVID-19? It’s not just the Senate that’s happy enough to go along with whatever Trump has to say. The media is right there for him, supporting him in a very special way.

A tale of two front-pages: @nytimes the morning after the Comey letter telling of discovered duplicative emails...and this morning's after we discover Trump knew and lied about a virus which has gone onto kill almost 200,000 Americans. pic.twitter.com/VjdgmvmmR0

— person woman DAN camera tv (@DaytimeDan) September 10, 2020

Following the astounding revelation that the FBI had found some additional copies of unimportant emails it had already seen, The New York Times not only filled every single column of its front page with this critical story, it handed over a large portion of that page for comments from Donald Trump. When Trump admitted lying to the nation about COVID-19, the “paper of record” not only thought this was a good day to devote two-thirds of its front page to an accidental explosion had happened over a month before and 9,000 miles away, but neither Biden nor any other Democratic leader was sought out for comment. Instead, the Times continued to represent the epitome of access journalism. It may seem that they, like much of the media, have learned nothing since 2016, but that’s not really true. They’ve learned exactly what it takes to keep getting interviews with Trump.

Republicans have learned they can get from Trump an endless stream of judges whose reading of the Constitution includes only one amendment, massive breaks for billionaires, and dropping all pretense of fighting corruption. And outlets like The New York Times have also learned that Trump will come through for them with an endless stream of jaw-dropping scandals that make great copy … so long as no one sticks with one story long enough to make impact. All for the low, low price of surrendering any pretense of integrity. A bargain.

Republicans are not about to call out Trump for his murder of 200,000 Americans. Or for his lies. Or for anything else. They made it all possible. So did a media more interested in seeing what the next scandal is than really driving home the impact of the last one.

For both of them, Trump is the fascist goose who laid heaps of gold-plated, if foul, eggs. Propping him up may be distasteful, but they like the results.

Journalism 101 fail: NYT article lets Republicans lie and attack, but can’t find Democrat to respond

What the hell is going on at The New York Times? This question has arisen far too often in the past few years, most recently last week after James Bennet, the paper’s now-former editorial page editor, pitched and then published—without reading it first, allegedly—a fascist op-ed by Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas. They were rightly reamed for it, with their own 2020 Pulitzer Prize winner and "The 1619 Project" creator Nikole Hannah-Jones leading the way, saying, “As a black woman, as a journalist, as an American, I am deeply ashamed that we ran this.".

So that was a poor decision by the opinion department, but surely the folks in the Times’ news department are doing their level best and practicing solid journalism, right? They’ve learned the hard and necessary lessons from the absurdly irresponsible, obsessive way they covered “her emails” in 2016, while downplaying investigations and actual wrongdoing by The Man Who Ended Up Losing The Popular Vote, right?

Well, from what I saw in a recent Sunday edition, not so much.

Like so many New York stories, we must begin in Central Park. I was sitting on the Great Lawn—appropriately distanced from a few friends, of course—and reading the Sunday Times news section when I started muttering. Then I humphed. Then I just slapped the newspaper with the back of my hand and said, “Sorry to interrupt, guys, but you gotta hear this.”

The article that prompted my outburst was one that I initially figured would be pretty dull. “Trump Wanted a Pre-Virus Convention Crowd, or None At All,” was the print headline (it’s slightly different online). The piece focused on Trump’s threat to move the Republican National Convention from Charlotte, North Carolina (we now know that most of the convention activities, including the nomination acceptance speech, will take place in Jacksonville, Florida). The story focused on the impeached president’s dismay with the Tar Heel State’s Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who wouldn’t guarantee that Republicans could pack people together on the convention floor and party like it was 2019.

The article’s first quote came from Ada Fisher, a national committeewoman for North Carolina’s Republican Party. Unsurprisingly, she blamed Democrats. “There are a lot of liberal, establishment people here who just don’t like the Republican Party. People didn’t want it to happen just because Republicans were involved. But Charlotte can’t stand to lose $200 million in revenue right now.” Standard Republican boilerplate: The Democrats are a bunch of meanies. She even managed to work in both “liberal” and “establishment” as slurs. Well played, Ms. Fisher.

The next quote was from Orange Julius Caesar himself, who’d informed Cooper how stupendously North Carolina had been treated by the White House; he’d sent lots of tests and ventilators, see, as well as the National Guard. “I think we’ve done a good job!” and “We gave you a lot!” and more of the same. About what you’d expect from Trump.

Republican National Committee chair Ronna (don’t call me Romney) McDaniel’s letter to the convention’s host committee was next; essentially, she blamed the Democrats. If you’re wondering if, at any point in this journey so far, the Times offered any response from North Carolina Democrats, you already know the answer to that.

Two more Republicans weighed in before the final quotes came from the Republican state chair from Connecticut, J.R. Romano, who criticized Gov. Cooper’s supposedly over-aggressive requirements regarding wearing masks and social distancing: “We’re adults,” Romano said. “We all know the risks. If someone wants to wear a face mask, they can. If someone doesn’t, they’re taking a risk. I don’t think they had to make this mandatory.”

It is worth noting that Thursday was the fourth day in a row that coronavirus hospitalizations in North Carolina hit a new high.

I couldn’t believe that Romano’s nonsense was the end of the article. I kept waiting for the pushback, a quote from Cooper, or one his aides or allies, about the need to be careful because of the virus, or how decisions on the convention would be governed by science, or how they’d have to see how the outbreak looks in the coming weeks, or that they’d love to host the Republicans, but social distancing rules will still probably be necessary. Anything along those lines would’ve worked. Anything.

Could the authors really not find a Democrat in the entire state or country to go on record here? How did they submit this piece without making sure they at least found one? Did they even notice the imbalance? Where were their editors? There are multiple layers of editorial oversight, one would imagine, for an article on national politics that runs in the main print section of the Sunday New York Times. Did nobody ask, “Hey, can you find a quote from a frickin’ Democrat?” I’ve never worked as an editor at the Gray Lady, but that question came to mind before I was halfway through the piece.

The article did summarize the respective positions of Cooper and Trump, as well as their conversations, yet only Trump and Republicans were given space to defend their positions. Republicans’ assertions about the motivations of North Carolina Democrats also went unchallenged by the authors, other than a brief mention—far from any Republican statements—that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended mask-wearing and social distancing.

The article was written by Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman. While Karni has not faced significant criticism over her work in the past, Haberman has been called out before for pro-Trump, pro-Republican reporting. Trump has also attacked Haberman, but given that he has attacked the entire journalism profession, such attacks are a badge of honor and don’t mean anyone’s actually been unfair to him or his administration. Haberman’s critics maintain the opposite.

In May 2019, Haberman wrote an article for the Times about Hope Hicks, who had left her position as White House communications director a year earlier, then received a subpoena to testify before the House regarding her former boss and obstruction of justice (remember the Mueller report?). Haberman’s article explored whether Hicks would, you know, actually comply with the law. Yet some folks were concerned that the decision to commit a crime was framed, by Haberman, as “an existential question.”

What gets me is news breaks that this woman is weighing committing a crime before Congress &it�s getting framed by the NYT as some Lifetime drama called �Hope�s Choice.� This is a fmr admin official considering participating in a coverup led by the President. Treat her equally. https://t.co/XcNbSuU4QB

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 26, 2019

Anyway: Here's a dare for @maggieNYT, since she wants to write about what happens when women defy a subpoena. Write a similar story about @xychelsea, who is in jail for defying a subpoena.

— emptywheel (@emptywheel) May 26, 2019

There is nothing for Hope Hicks to �decide.� She got a subpoena from Congress. Were she not white, wealthy, and connected, we wouldn�t be having this conversation. She would appear, or she would face the threat of prison like the rest of us. As she should. https://t.co/giDCcvIxvf

— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) May 26, 2019

One Vanity Fair headline referred to Haberman as a “Trump Whisperer,” citing her “closeness—and fairness—to the president.” Fairness is a subjective term, but I have a hard time seeing it as fair to Roy Cooper or North Carolina Democrats that Haberman and Karni’s article quoted five angry Republicans, but not one Democrat.

Beyond the problems with Haberman’s reporting specifically, one of the biggest problems with the so-called mainstream media writ large is something called “bothsidesism,” also known as false equivalency. Bothsidesism occurs when reporters cover an issue simply by presenting the opposing views of Democrats and Republicans as equivalent, irrespective of which side is telling the truth.

Laila Lalami, writing in in The Nation, describes bothsidesism as when journalists “give space to both sides of any story, no matter what the facts show, leaving them open to manipulation by surrogates acting in bad faith and, more worrying, making it harder for ordinary citizens to remain informed and engaged.” Nancy LeTourneau, writing for Washington Monthly, notes that “For those of us who are trying to keep the door to being open-minded cracked at least a little bit, this both-siderism has a kind of gaslighting effect. You begin to question whether what you are witnessing with your own two eyes is real.”

At the Columbia Journalism Review, Jon Allsop went in-depth on bothsidesism and the Times during the impeachment of Donald Trump.

As impeachment has progressed, attacks on the “both sides” approach—and the Times, in particular—have intensified. Over the weekend, critics trained their ire on an article in the paper, headlined “The Breach Widens as Congress Nears a Partisan Impeachment,” about a debate in the Judiciary Committee. Nate Silver, of FiveThirtyEight, noted that the actual words “both sides” appeared four times in the piece. (One of these was in a quotation.) Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at NYU, listed 12 more snippets from the article as evidence of the Times’s inability to handle what he calls “asymmetrical polarization.” They included “the different impeachment realities that the two parties are living in,” “both sides engaged in a kind of mutually assured destruction,” and “the two parties could not even agree on a basic set of facts in front of them.”

Rosen is right that this sort of language is inadequate: Democrats, for the most part, are engaging with the factual record; Republicans, for the most part, are not. These positions are manifestly not equivalent. Treating them as such does not serve any useful concept of fairness; instead, it rebounds clearly to the advantage of the one side (Republicans) for whom nonsense being taken seriously is a victory in itself. The Times is far from the only culprit.

The Times also blew it when covering Trump’s remarks after back-to-back mass shootings in August 2019—one of which was carried out by a racist who specifically targeted Latinx Americans. The initial headline—in all caps (something done relatively rarely, as it indicates special importance)—read “TRUMP URGES UNITY VS. RACISM.” Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, among many others, pushed back hard on that framing.

Lives literally depend on you doing better, NYT. Please do. https://t.co/L4CpCb8zLi

— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) August 6, 2019

After facing a lot of heat, the headline was changed to “ASSAILING HATE BUT NOT GUNS.” A spokesperson for the Times admitted that “The headline was bad and has been changed for the second edition.” Executive editor Dean Baquet also called it a “bad headline.” The final headline, at least online, reads: “Trump Condemns White Supremacy but Stops Short of Major Gun Controls.” The Confederacy’s Biggest Fan, of course, still liked the original headline best, calling it “the correct description” of what he’d said.

What mattered, in the context of the mass shootings, was that Trump had declared a refusal to support any significant new gun control measures, such as universal background checks, or bans on high capacity ammunition magazines. However, the Times’  first instinct was to praise Trump as an anti-racist unifier. Let that choice sink in.

It’s bad enough when reporters at mainstream media outlets are so afraid of being accused of showing “liberal bias” that they engage in bothsidesism and false equivalency. Regarding the Sunday Times article about the RNC, presenting both sides would have been an improvement, as the authors literally only gave us one side of a political story in which Democrats and Republicans disagreed. Yet what the article on the battle over the RNC convention shares with other New York Times pieces that are guilty of bothsidesism is the willingness to bend over backward to help Republicans. And they call that paper the liberal media.

There are no quick fixes here for The Times. As for constructive criticism, journalists at The Times could do a lot worse than to listen to the aforementioned Professor Rosen. Rosen diagnosed the crux of the paper’s problem a couple of years ago (and is as good a media critic as there is), in a long analysis that’s worth reading. One quote in particular hits the nail on the head.

“Remember when the Washington Post came out with its new motto, “Democracy Dies in Darkness?” It put Post journalism on the side of keeping democracy alive. Dean Baquet, executive editor of the Times, made fun of it. ‘Sounds like the next Batman movie,’ he said.”

You know what they say about the fish rotting from the head down? Perhaps the entire staff, top to bottom, could undergo the kind of training they did at The Telegraph (UK), which Rosen also cited as a way to help mainstream media journalists unlearn some of their worst habits.

To paraphrase Ted “Theodore” Logan, strange things are afoot at The New York Times, and not at all in the cool, “I just met George Carlin outside the Circle K” kind of way. In all seriousness, what The Times did here is reflective of what’s been going on for generations. In 1969, Vice President Spiro Agnew drew up the playbook for Republican liars attacking the media in order to intimidate them into providing more favorable coverage; the Koch brothers have kept that tradition alive. In sports, this is called “working the refs,” and Paul Krugman rightly applied the term to the imbalance in how the media covered Trump as compared to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

To the detriment of American politics, the American people, and our democracy, we’ve had four more years of this media malpractice since then. If mainstream media outlets keep this up, and we end up with four more of Trump as a result, there may not be much of a free media left to cover his second term. It’s on all of us to do our part between now and November to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Ian Reifowitz is the author of  The Tribalization of Politics: How Rush Limbaugh's Race-Baiting Rhetoric on the Obama Presidency Paved the Way for Trump (Foreword by Markos Moulitsas)

By making the pandemic a battle of ‘us vs. them,’ the pro-Trump media set their audience up to die

Long after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed and the bodies have been buried or cremated, historians will try to understand how a country that made up only 4.25% of the world’s population somehow managed have 22% of the worldwide number of people infected with the virus.

They’ll puzzle over statistics showing huge numbers of deaths in the rural American South and Midwest, far away from the most populated areas. They’ll consult physicians and epidemiologists for a rational explanation, but will find none. They’ll look at per capita income and marvel at the fact that this country harbored the wealthiest people on the planet, with even its middle class enjoying a (relatively) prosperous standard of living compared to other nations caught up in the pandemic.

Why then, they’ll ask, did so many people die? Why were so many infected in the first place?

As reported by Jeremy Peters in The New York Times, the media had something to do with it.

A review of hundreds of hours of programming and social media traffic from Jan. 1 through mid-March — when the White House started urging people to stay home and limit their exposure to others — shows that doubt, cynicism and misinformation about the virus took root among many of Mr. Trump’s boosters in the right-wing media as the number of confirmed cases in the United States grew.

It was during this lull — before the human and economic toll became undeniable — when the story of the coronavirus among the president’s most stalwart defenders evolved into the kind of us-versus-them clash that Mr. Trump has waged for much of his life.

The Times carefully traces back the response by the right wing in this country to what is rapidly emerging as the greatest public health threat in U.S. history. That response was striking in its knee-jerk, reactionary cynicism. From Candace Owens' sarcastic tweeting in late February, laughing about the dire warnings of medical professionals as a “Doomsday cult of the ‘Left’” (she actually doubled down just this week, advising her audience to consider the number of deaths with “a little perspective”), to Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, who in February called the virus “a new pathway for hitting President Trump,” to the sudden about-face of Sean Hannity—in exact tandem with Trump’s vacillating messages about the seriousness of the pandemic.

The blaming by the right continues to this day, as media figures continue to try to concoct new distractions for Americans from Trump’s abysmal negligence and disregard, even as the horror unfolds in Americans’ living rooms, broadcast from hospital floors in living color on the nightly news. As Peters notes, this blame game is also nothing new.

The pervasiveness of the denial among many of Mr. Trump’s followers from early in the outbreak, and their sharp pivot to finding fault with an old foe once the crisis deepened, is a pattern that one expert in the spread of misinformation said resembled a textbook propaganda campaign.

A “propaganda campaign” it was, and continues to be. Modern conservatism and what we understand as the “right,” with its torch-bearer, the Republican Party, does not thrive in this country based on its inherent ideas or philosophy. The absolute dearth of legislation passed by the Republican-dominated Congress during the first two years of the Trump administration (beyond a singularly skewed tax cut for corporate America) is the best evidence of that. Republicanism and conservatism do not exist because of their “ideas,” because, frankly, their ideas are largely repugnant to most Americans. That is why they rely on inflaming division and prejudices in their base while seeking to suppress the votes of as many non-Republicans as possible. Their “ideas,” to the extent they have any, are toxic and unpopular.

So the right wing always needs an enemy to blame, someone "conspiring" against them, and they need a media apparatus to stoke fear of that enemy in their supporters. The enemy can be African American, Latinx, Muslim, or a member of the LGBTQ community; the villains can be teachers, government employees, or even college professors. More generically, that enemy can be the “media,” “liberals,” or “Democrats.” And even more broadly, “financial elites”—which, roughly translated, usually means “Jews.” It really doesn’t matter.

Tobin Smith, a former Fox News contributor and anchor, explained last year in an op-ed for The New York Times how the network deliberately creates enemies for its viewers, to bind them to the network by providing them a sense of grievance, of someone conspiring against their interests. He explains the psychology as activating the Fox viewer’s “fight or flight juices,” making the viewer feel as if he is being attacked. He compares it to the administration of a highly addictive drug, prompting the viewer to come back again and again for another “conspiracy fix.”

Believing in conspiracy theories is a psychological construct for people to take back some semblance of control in their lives. It inflates their sense of importance. It makes them feel they have access to “special knowledge” that the rest of the world is “too blind,” “too dumb” or “too corrupt” to understand.

The COVID-19 pandemic has offered the right a litany of enemies on whom to place blame. The Times identified a systemic pattern among right-wing media’s response to the coronavirus—so systemic that the Times was able to categorize four stages of blame-shifting at various times by the right, as they continued to deny, deflect, and above all, defend Donald Trump. The stages were, in the order they were rolled out: 1) Blaming China; 2) minimizing the risk (and in some instances, ridiculing it); 3) sharing “survivor” stories to further minimize the risk; and 4) blaming the left (or “Democrats”).

The Times amply documents all of these tactics, as evidenced by Fox News, Limbaugh, Hannity, and the entire right-wing apparatus. China-blaming started early on, with Fox News as the “launching pad” for halting all travel from China, the promotion of the phrase “Chinese virus,” and the conspiracy theories of Republican politicians such as Tom Cotton, who suggested that the virus had been concocted in a Chinese bioweapons lab. This China-bashing continues to this day, with administration officials peddling the “Wuhan virus” designation to inflame their base’s sense of xenophobia and anger.

As the Times reports, minimizing or ridiculing the risk was a staple of right-wing propaganda from January onward, with recent Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Rush Limbaugh exclaiming: “Flight attendant working L.A.X. tests positive. Oh, my God, 58 cases! Oh, my God. Oh, my God,” and Sean Hannity gleefully feigning fear: “The apocalypse is imminent and you’re going to all die, all of you in the next 48 hours. And it’s all President Trump’s fault,” the Fox News star said, adding, “or at least that’s what the media mob and the Democratic extreme radical socialist party would like you to think.” Limbaugh claimed that the coronavirus “appear[ed] less deadly than the flu,” but warned that the media kept “promoting panic.” The Times notes that a Breitbart news editor named Joel Pollak merrily published supposedly “scientific” articles minimizing the threat and emphasizing the “best possible outcomes.”

Just one day after Pollak urged Americans to “chill out” about the pandemic, the first American died.

Their audience smiled and nodded, sure that this was all a liberal plot. While thousands around the world were becoming sick and dying from the virus, the “tone of the coverage from Fox, talk radio and the commentators who make up the president’s zealous online army remained dismissive.” This is probably what will be most remembered by those future historians, perplexed at the startling body counts in places like Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, because governors in all these states took their cues directly from such dismissiveness from people in power, and people with a platform.

The idea that this was all a “liberal hoax” was not only articulated by Trump himself, but amplified a thousand times over by Fox News and its ilk. That this cynical gamesmanship was occurring not in reference to a political campaign but a dire public health threat seemed not to matter to any of these people. They were collecting their fat paychecks, and that was apparently all that mattered to them.

After the deadly effects of COVID-19 became impossible to ignore, Fox & Friends ran a segment happily celebrating how its impact would really be quite minimal. “Survivor stories” such as Jerri Jorgensen’s were highlighted, suggesting to viewers that the virus was not a “big deal.” Limbaugh picked that one up, joking to his 15 million listeners that callers expressing concern about potential exposure weren’t phoning him from “beyond the grave.”

Finally, as the pandemic became more and more prevalent and could not be disregarded, came what Peters characterizes as the “Blame the Left” phase.

By the middle of March, the story of the virus on the right was one of how Mr. Trump’s enemies had weaponized “the flu” and preyed on the insecurities of an emasculated America.

Mr. Limbaugh blamed “wimp politics — which is liberalism.” Mr. Pollak, whose tone grew more serious, said the virus had spread while Democrats stretched out the president’s impeachment. “We now know the cost of impeachment,” he wrote.

Frank Luntz, the veteran political strategist who advises Republican leaders, said many on the right were applying the scornful, “own the libs” mentality of social media to a deadly and frightening health crisis.

We’re still at the tail end of that phase now, with conservatives and rightwing trolls attacking coronavirus task force expert Dr. Anthony Fauci with death threats, and others who have successfully punctured the right’s toxic bubble blaming January’s impeachment proceedings for Trump’s gross negligence and inaction, and, once again, blaming the Chinese. It’s not clear who the right will blame next for Trump’s colossal failure. But by the time they get around to it, many of their followers will already be dead.

Because all of this had an impact—in our politically polarized nation, how could it not? It caused millions of Americans who trusted such sources—who trusted Donald Trump—to let down their guard, to throw caution to the wind. It caused Republican governors to ignore the harrowing warnings of established science and advise their constituents to carry on as if the threat did not exist. It led those citizens to genuinely believe everything was going to be all right.

But we’re not going to be all right. Thanks to these monstrously amoral and unconcerned purveyors of Republican propaganda, many, many people are going to die who could have and should have lived. Families that should have remained intact are going to suffer the loss of people they love. And people who did actually understand the gravity of this pandemic are going to be infected by those who were lulled into complacency by that propaganda.

The full horror of what the right-wing media has done is just now becoming apparent, but in the coming weeks it will be impossible to ignore.