Local Ogden editor Mike Myer’s column, “Blame Game Is Severe Side Effect,” in today’s Wheeling News-Register, asks us to refrain from what he calls the “blame game” in assessing the coronavirus pandemic. Here's his conclusion which I believe adequately summarizes the point he's trying to make:
COVID-19 isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last in which the blame game has an oversized, possibly dangerous, effect.
In the column, Myer mentions President Trump only once and it's sympathetically rather than critically:
Already — see criticism of President Donald Trump’s actions — some politicians are playing the blame game.
Despite this one Trump reference, my take on the column is that Myer is providing a round-about defense of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak: critics, according to Myer, just want to unfairly play the “blame game.”
Hmmm. I wondered if Myer and his papers defended President Obama the same way during the Ebola outbreak in late-2014. I checked and here are some editorial samples. From mid-October, 2014:
In what may be the most irresponsible act of his tenure, President Barack Obama has appointed a political hack to lead the fight against Ebola. Thoughtful Americans of all political persuasions may conclude Obama is more worried about his reputation than about saving lives.
A week later:
President Barack Obama made it clear Tuesday that he bases many critical decisions on one type of science – political science.
The next day:
Americans should be asking ourselves if our government is acting effectively or politically in that campaign.
Instead of worrying about politics and diplomacy – America’s image – Obama should be doing more to contain the disease.
Coming in for special criticism from the Intelligencer was the person that Obama appointed to head the Ebola coordination effort, Ron Klain, “a longtime Democratic operative.” The editorial thought that we should be asking the following questions about Obama's choice. (As you read this, you might want to substitute Trump’s coronavirus head, Vice President Mike Pence, for Klain.):
- Wouldn’t it have made more sense to appoint someone with a background in both medicine and government – a former surgeon general, for example?
- Would a more effective appointment have been of a former high-ranking military medical officer who has supervised many professionals working in many locations and under stressful circumstances?
And my favorite:
- Is Klain’s job primarily to make the White House look good, perhaps to make Americans think our government is doing its best to fight Ebola?
Hypocrisy? Yes, of course. In 2014-15, the local Ogden papers played “the blame game” and gave us a number of editorials criticizing Obama’s handling of the Ebola crisis in which two Americans died. So far in 2020, neither Myer nor his papers' editorials have written a single word critical of Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic for which 62 Americans have already died. And now today, Myer asks us not to play the "blame game."
Yes, it's hypocritical but it's also a pathetic (and shameless) column given Trump's actions this far into the crisis.