White House: Media Are Trying to Scare Country About COVID-19

Kayleigh McEnany
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany (Image credit: The White House/Public Domain)

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany doubled down on the President's assertion that the media has been trying to scare the American people about the coronavirus. 

That comes the same day that President Donald Trump planned to restart his daily coronavirus briefings Tuesday (July 21). 

Asked in her daily briefing about Vice President Mike Pence's June 16 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal to that effect and whether the White House still stands by that 25,000 more coronavirus deaths later, McEnany reiterated the charge. 

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She said the White House has always been “clear-eyed” that reopening the country would entail "embers, and in some cases, fires." Cases, and in some instances, death counts, have been rising in many states. She said the administration has been aggressive in addressing those embers and fires, including sending teams to emerging hot spots. She said the fatality rate of cases, the U.S. is below the EU and the world average. 

Asked again if the White House saw the "main problem" as the media trying to scare people. she said she thought in many instances that was the case. "I think there's been a deficit in reporting about the cost of staying shut down, for instance," she said.  

To suggest that cost, she cited “the American Cancer Society saying that, during the pandemic, we saw an 80% drop in cancer cases being identified,” adding that there were “real costs” to a “draconian extended shutdown.” She said the media does not report that other side of the health equation, including that mammograms are down 87% and colonoscopies down 90%, while drug overdoses continue to go up during the lockdown. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.