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NBC Reporter Breaks from Media's Coronavirus Echo Chamber, Dares To Call Out Trump Haters

Richard Engel is not a popular man on Twitter right now.
Engel, for those of you who aren’t familiar, is NBC News’ chief foreign correspondent. As with most every journalist working that beat these days, he’s covering the coronavirus outbreak and the fallout.
Most of his tweets regarding the virus are apolitical. He’s clearly not a fan of the Trump administration — a retweet of a Rachel Maddow clip in which MSNBC talked about how “in the middle of a severe public health emergency, the president just lies about it over and over and over again” is a pretty good indication of that — but this is about par for the course these days:
This is a serious virus and the consequences of ignoring it are grave - the US already lost time doing that - but there is also a big price for overreacting. Virologists I’ve spoken to say we need to learn "to live with the virus," guard against it, and keep moving ahead.
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This is a covid-19 test. The machines that read these cartridges are already in use in dozens of countries and give a result in an hour. There are 100s of machines in the US now approved for other tests but not Covid-19, for that still awaiting FDA approval.
View image on Twitter
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There are people getting angry on these Twitter threads because, well, they’re Twitter threads and of course they end up getting angry. However, on Thursday, Engel managed to earn that anger — even though he was right.
“The reaction/overreaction in the US to the virus seems largely political,” Engel wrote.
“Trump’s critics have no confidence in him, so they panic. Others defend Trump no matter what he does and don’t listen to anyone else. Not a recipe for keep calm and carry on. When broken you can’t be strong.”
The reaction/overreaction in the US to the virus seems largely political. Trump’s critics have no confidence in him, so they panic. Others defend Trump no matter what he does and don’t listen to anyone else. Not a recipe for keep calm and carry on. When broken you can’t be strong
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There was plenty of reaction to this, and not just from the typical Twitter peanut gallery. There were plenty of blue-checkmarked personages who were more than a bit miffed at the NBC correspondent.
The reaction/overreaction in the US to the virus seems largely political. Trump’s critics have no confidence in him, so they panic. Others defend Trump no matter what he does and don’t listen to anyone else. Not a recipe for keep calm and carry on. When broken you can’t be strong

The reaction/overreaction in the US to the virus seems largely political. Trump’s critics have no confidence in him, so they panic. Others defend Trump no matter what he does and don’t listen to anyone else. Not a recipe for keep calm and carry on. When broken you can’t be strong
The reaction/overreaction in the US to the virus seems largely political. Trump’s critics have no confidence in him, so they panic. Others defend Trump no matter what he does and don’t listen to anyone else. Not a recipe for keep calm and carry on. When broken you can’t be strong
The reaction/overreaction in the US to the virus seems largely political. Trump’s critics have no confidence in him, so they panic. Others defend Trump no matter what he does and don’t listen to anyone else. Not a recipe for keep calm and carry on. When broken you can’t be strong
This is a perfect example of why political correspondents should be taken off the air and science correspondents should be put in charge of coverage. Why don't you take a break for a week.
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The reaction/overreaction in the US to the virus seems largely political. Trump’s critics have no confidence in him, so they panic. Others defend Trump no matter what he does and don’t listen to anyone else. Not a recipe for keep calm and carry on. When broken you can’t be strong
Does the mainstream media have a prize for the jack ass who can come up with the most absurd and demeaning false equivalencies to keep your corporate bosses happy and the advertising dollars rolling in? Your move @chucktodd, @CillizzaCNN
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Amazing — I didn’t know that NBC was a “mainstream media” hive that was in the business of “com[ing] up with the most absurd and demeaning false equivalencies to keep [its] corporate bosses happy and the advertising dollars rolling in.”
Note how Engel pointed out that both sides were being partisan over a disease at a time when we need to come together (while maintaining social distancing, of course). The reason I’ve posted responses solely from the left isn’t just because they have blue checkmarks nor is it because I want to deliberately set out to create a sense of imbalance, given I’m a conservative writer. I searched for an angry pro-Trump response for as long as I could stand to read another Twitter thread full of invective over coronavirus.
Engel criticized both sides for their politicized reaction to COVID-19. One side got furious. Especially given the number of people with minor-league verified accounts that ended up sharing their lividity, that says something.
As previously stated, though, Engel is right.
If there’s a reaction or overreaction from the left, it comes from the fact that they believe they have no confidence in the leadership at the top. Notice, for instance, the invective heaped on Trump’s two speeches last week — including the kerfuffle over his use of the words “foreign virus” to describe coronavirus, which was decried by the press as xenophobic.
One of the people who implied there was xenophobia there was Joe Biden, who made the accusation in a speech on the virus last week that was widely praised as being presidential material by everyone who tilts toward Biden. One issue, of course, was the fact that Biden’s coronavirus plan was, on an almost issue-by-issue basis, the same as Trump’s.
On the other hand, let’s not pretend that Trump has been perfect in dealing with the pandemic. He hasn’t been, and blindly trusting him just because you’re a Trump voter isn’t terribly helpful.
For instance, the president’s speech last Wednesday, while certainly not the flaming pile of disaster the media said it was, contained several glaring errors, including the unnerving moment when he said that “trade and cargo” from Europe would be barred as well as travelers. It wasn’t, and his inability to explain the entirety of the European ban clearly left the White House to clarify many of the points.
However, while Engel is right in diagnosing the symptoms of the divide, he doesn’t necessarily get the disease correct. Note that this is a guy who’s working on the purportedly objective side of NBC News. Note, too, his retweet of Rachel Maddow mentioned above. Engel doesn’t see any particular dissonance between these two facts.
The American media has done everything possible to divide us because, let’s face it, it makes for a good show. These aren’t supposed to be opinion journalists — and yet here they are, wondering why we’re so polarized in one tweet and in another, cosigning Maddow, whose conspiracy theories about the Trump administration have been wild-eyed enough that they could pass for Alex Jones-type stuff were she on the right.
I’m not going to slaughter Engel over that, however. The opinion journalists and academics of the left’s echo chamber did quite a fine job of that on their own. 

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