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McEnany: Media has ‘tried to scare the American people’ on COVID-19

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With public opinion tilting away from President Donald Trump on his handling of the coronavirus, White House Press Secretary blamed journalists Tuesday for having “tried to scare the American people” with COVID-19 reporting.

McEnany did not distinguish between print, online, or TV coverage in her remarks during Tuesday’s press briefing, instead trying to make a broader point about how “You never heard the other side of the health equation” on “what extended lockdowns do to the American people.”

“I think, in many cases, the media has tried to scare the American people,” McEnany said in response to a question about Vice President Mike Pence’s May op-ed titled “There Isn’t a Coronavirus ‘Second Wave.'”

“I think there’s been a deficit in reporting about the cost of staying shut down, for instance,” she continued. “When you have the fact that the American Cancer Society saying that during the pandemic, we saw an 80% drop in cancer cases being identified.”

“There are real costs to a draconian extended shutdown, and you never heard the other side of the health equation,” McEnany said, adding that things like mammograms and colonoscopies were also down as elective surgeries were postponed, in addition to drug overdoses increasing.

In the Pence op-ed, the VP blamed COVID-19 coverage for inaccurately predicting a “second wave” — despite the fact that in the weeks since it was published, cases have skyrocketed nationwide and several states have had to roll back elements of their reopening efforts.

“The media has tried to scare the American people every step of the way, and these grim predictions of a second wave are no different,” Pence wrote in May. “The truth is, whatever the media says, our whole-of-America approach has been a success.” 

As of Tuesday, 141,118 people have died from the coronavirus in the United States — the highest of any country in the world — with more than 3.8 million confirmed cases, also a world high, according to the latest data from the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

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