Creating a costly COVID narrative and other commentary

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Media desk: Creating a Costly COVID Narrative

The “news media can still be a very formidable force” when “there is a panic, the subject is unfamiliar to the masses and they speak with a generally uniform voice,” notes John Ziegler at Mediaite. The pandemic gave the prestige press the opportunity to shape a “politically deadly” view of President Trump — and they’ve “taken full advantage of it,” though it has “unnecessarily cost our children very dearly.” The press, ignoring America’s “far better rate of deaths per cases” than many similar countries, is “cementing the perception” that Trump’s COVID-19 response “has been a disaster.” Harsh lockdowns in states such as Michigan are hurting Trump politically, “because a portion of the population there, thanks to the media narrative, has determined that their governor’s punishing actions were required due to Trump’s ineptitude.”

From the left: US Democracy’s Not at Risk

“Our toxic partisan swamp just gets worse if liberals join conservatives in believing that the opposition party is ready to literally destroy the ­nation,” Kevin Drum cautions at Mother Jones. “America has had gerrymandering, the Senate, the Electoral College and the Supreme Court since the beginning, and liberals rarely worried that they were an existential threat to democracy.” Indeed, “every democratic country has institutions that get in the way of perfect representation, and this is often considered a good thing: the Senate as a counterweight to the passions of the House, for example, or the Supreme Court as the guarantor of the rights of the minority versus the will of the majority.” Just “stop whining and, ­instead, do the hard work of winning more votes in more places.”

Conservative: Joe, the Endless-War Candidate

Liberal interventionists and GOP neocons are salivating at the prospect of a Joe Biden presidency, warns Daniel McCarthy at Spectator USA, for the ex-veep “personifies the foreign policy of endless war.” Biden voted “for the biggest and most foolish intervention” of the post-9/11 era — the Iraq War — and never repudiated it. Before that, he supported the 1999 Serbia intervention. Biden was supposed to be “one of the less hawkish members” of Team Obama, but Barack Obama “himself was less hawkish than Biden, however — and he still chose to go to war in Libya.” Bottom line: Americans who hope to end the endless wars must pull for Trump.

Free-speech watch: Censorship Threatens Unity

When Facebook and Twitter moved “to suppress” The Post’s Hunter Biden stories, writes William Voegeli at City Journal, it fueled “a larger ­debate about the power of social-media platforms.” Are rules “about what can and can’t be said clear and universally applicable”? Liberals “increasingly” view free speech “as an embarrassing anachronism,” with some griping we suffer from too much of it. Yet there’s a big problem with calls to “police” speech: “Who will guard the guardians” and what gives men like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg legitimacy? Of course, people can boycott media that suppress speech they want to hear. But that will trigger another problem: “Our experiment in self-government will become even more precarious . . . as we inhabit not just neighborhoods but also cyberspace precincts colored either bright red or deep blue.”

From the right: Beware the Media Gatekeepers

Twitter’s decision “to attempt to shut down the circulation of the New York Post story, which looked bad when it was made, looks even worse” with “more evidence in view,” observes The New York Times’ Ross Douthat. It’s now certain “The Post’s story was not some sort of sweeping Russian disinformation plot.” And “it’s hard to come up with any reasonable social-media rule that would justify the suppression of The Post’s story that couldn’t just as easily be applied to all the pieces of conspiratorial Trump-Russia reportage that didn’t pan out.” It’s “reasonable for conservatives to fear” that “social-media censorship, carried out ‘neutrally’ by companies overwhelmingly staffed by liberals, will expand its reach with the vocal support of an ­increasingly consolidated and liberal group of mainstream-media gatekeepers” — including Douthat’s own newspaper — that “shape the way” much of the country receives news.

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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