Opinion: Oct. 25: Covid-19 and the Election

If Vice President Biden wins the election, he can thank the Covid-19 virus and the media for the victory. And if President Trump and Vice President Pence lose the election they have the media, the Republican strategists and themselves to blame for the loss.

Let’s take a look at the case against the media first. The media has made the Covid-19 virus one of their number one stories since it broke out. That probably is justified. But as with so many topics, much of what the media has done is superficial and one sided reporting. Often that reporting has supported the contentions made by Democrats. And it has left out reporting on obviously false statements put out by the leading Democrats like VP Biden and Sen. Harris.

This summer Biden & Harris repeatedly told us that President Trump was responsible for all the virus deaths. In one case Biden told us that Trump was responsible for the 200,000,000 deaths. Obviously that was a misstatement by Biden, which was covered by some. But more importantly, to blame any person, especially the president, for all the deaths that have occurred was ludicrous. That’s especially true when there were several major states with high levels of nursing home deaths after the governors required nursing homes to accept COVID-19 positive patients. Yet that aspect of their claim was rarely, if ever, addressed.

Biden and Harris have also claimed that President Trump didn’t have a plan early on and still doesn’t have a plan. Again that was easily proven false but the media failed to address that claim. For what was probably two months, or more, the Trump Administration held daily press conferences on the Covid-19 Task Force. During those press conferences we were introduced to the individuals involved with the task force and what their responsibilities were. We were introduced to the plans they had to address making supplies, equipment, and even temporary hospital beds available to the states as needed. They also covered what was being done to develop a vaccine .

Had the majority of the media highlighted what was being done instead of just the number of cases and death count or how it was impacting individuals’ lives, that would have changed the tone of the debate. It would have changed it from being about the President’s supposed lack of action to combat the virus to the fact that the Democrats were lying about it for political purposes. The Democrats have tweaked their claim to now say he had no “national plan”. That too is quite dishonest. He and his team worked with states throughout the country (red and blue) . And it implies that the Federal Government is designed so it could put in place a plan that over rides the right of states to act as they see fit. That’s not the case.

Finally, Vice President Biden has been talking about his plan to address the the virus. The day after the last presidential debate he spelled it out in detail in a news conference speech. But most of the steps, if not each, he laid out have already been undertaken by the Trump Administration. Imagine if the media had fairly compared the two plans, item by item, and shown what the Trump Administration had already put in place regarding each part of Vice President Biden’s plan? That would have had a significant impact too! And it would have been fair coverage designed to properly inform voters.

So the media, including Fox News, have covered the virus very poorly with the intended or unintended consequence of aiding the Biden campaign.

So what about the Republican strategists? How are they responsible? Most have been saying that President Trump and his campaign should stick to his strong point, the economy. But is that really good advice? Most people are aware of what the economy was like before the Covid-19 virus appeared. Reminding them of that is probably a good idea. But making it the major and almost entire focus of the campaign seems foolish to me. At some point in time you need to address what appears to be your weakness. That is especially true when you have a good story to tell.

Republican strategists always seem to get stuck on candidates talking about the economy and jobs. I remember back to the 2012 campaigns when I had a chance to meet with the number two individual responsible for the Congressional Campaigns at the RNC. Rep. Stiver’s chief of staff had arranged the visit. I presented a couple topics I thought would be very strong in the campaign. I even gave them copies of a couple scripts for commercials I thought they should use. I was told that the total focus of that year’s campaign was going to be on “jobs”. But the Democrats countered with their own message on jobs and of course added in their standby claim on Social Security. So it came down to which candidate and plan for jobs did voters trust most. I contend Republicans lost House seats in that year’s elections when they didn’t have to. Republicans always needed to run on more than “jobs”, even if that is their number one strength according to polls. Republican strategists continue to ignore this fact!

Finally why do I say it will by President Trump’s and Vice President Pence’s fault? They were involved in developing the Administration’s task force and plan to address the Covid-19 virus. They know the details better than anyone else. Yet they haven’t properly address the false claims being made by the Democrats. That should have been their number one priority once Vice President Biden and Sen. Harris started making their ridiculous claims. And it should have been very easy for them to do it. But they didn’t.

So once again, like so many times in the past, voters will be going into the polling places misinformed on one of the most important topics of the election. Yet it didn’t have to happen if we had a media that took their job seriously and strategists who were actually good at their job.

Post Script: The Biden/Harris lies about the Covid-19 virus was the topic of the last column I submitted to the Chillicothe Gazette for consideration. They chose not to print it which is no surprise to me!

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