The Saturday Intelligencer “covers” the coronavirus
The front page
The front-page story with the biggest headline is a feature article (with two pictures) about how a West Virginia native is dealing with the virus in Japan. Reporter Jennifer Compston-Strough talked to Joe Hindman, a New Martinsville WV native, who has lived with his family in Japan for 16 years.
Given the headline's large font and its placement on the page, it appears to be the most important article in the paper. I am not sure why. Is Japan’s response to the virus like ours? It doesn’t appear to be – Japan has, as Hindman points out, universal health care:
Hindman said the Japanese population is generally more healthy than that of many other countries, including the United States. He said, for example, that flu-related deaths in Japan each year can be counted in the dozens rather than the thousands.
“It’s really a pointed example of how a nation that has full access to medical care on a basic level excels at keeping its population healthier,” he said.
(Emphasis mine. Someone’s asleep-on-the job; how did a positive word for universal health care ever make it into an Ogden paper?)
By the way, at the top of the front page, is yet another story promoting an upcoming Ogden Newspapers event:
Ogden Newspapers Wellness Weekend Health Expo Plans in Full Swing
This page has two stories* about the virus. One is an Associated Press article about the large cruise ship parked off San Francisco in which 21 people have tested positive for the virus. The article does mention other elements of the virus story including the deaths in Seattle, some of the Trump administration’s response, and the reaction of Wall Street. The AP story has been edited, however. Among the 30% excluded is an epidemiologist’s response to the parking of the ship:
An epidemiologist who studies the spread of virus particles said the recirculated air from a cruise ship’s ventilation system, plus the close quarters and communal settings, make passengers vulnerable to infectious diseases.
“They’re not designed as quarantine facilities, to put it mildly,” said Don Milton of the University of Maryland. “You’re going to amplify the infection by keeping people on the boat.”
The second Associated Press article on page 5 is about President Trump’s response to the virus. The AP’s title that I found at most news outlets was:
Trump, at CDC, offers scattershot defense of virus response
The Intelligencer, however, dropped the adjective “scattershot”:
Trump Offers Defense of Virus Response
More importantly, the Intelligencer version has an even deeper edit than their previous one – over 75% of this article has been eliminated. The Intelligencer article ends in mid-sentence (Note – the bold material was dropped in the Intelligencer’s version.):
The president touted the accuracy of the test to detect the coronavirus, which members of his administration have acknowledged is not available to all who wants it, declaring it was “perfect like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect. This was not as perfect as that, but pretty good.”
Trump was referring to the rough transcript of his July call with Ukraine’s president, which prompted a whistleblower complaint that led to his impeachment. Trump, who was acquitted by the Senate last month, has insisted he did nothing wrong.
Yes, Trump compared the accuracy of the virus test to his Ukraine transcript – perfect.
Later in the original article, I found this cut material especially troubling:
Trump, at the CDC, advocated for the passengers to remain on the ship — in part so they would not count against the total number of victims in the United States. He did say he would defer to the medical experts.
So, Trump wants the passengers to remain at sea not because of concern for their or the country’s safety, but rather to keep the official count down to make him look good.
Finally, here are the last three paragraphs of the original AP story which were also cut:
The president, while touring the CDC, also boasted about his ability to understand the virus, even though he has repeatedly misstated how long it would take for a vaccine to be developed and available.
“You know my Uncle was a great — he was at MIT. He taught at MIT for a record number of years. He was a great super genius, Dr. John Trump,” the president said. “I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. . . . Maybe I have a natural ability.”
Trump visited the CDC after touring tornado damage in Tennessee. He was to spend the weekend at his resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
Another day, another edition of a “newspaper” that either ignores or edits Associated Press coverage that is critical of Trump. Yes, on the editorial page, you’ll occasionally find a syndicated columnist who will criticize Trump. I have yet to see, however, a critical word from the locals.
I wish we had a normal president who cared about the country rather than his own popularity and finances. Instead, we have a narcissist-in-chief who has placed his own survival above everything else.
I think that I would have been concerned about this virus under any of the presidents in my lifetime. However, with Trump I’m way past concerned.
*Note -- No links to the articles. The first of the two page 5 articles is not on their website. The second is the longer version of the AP article and is not the version that appears in the morning Intelligencer.