Kudos to the New York Times (and other elite organs of journalism) for their full-court press on covering the courageous protests in China against Xi Jinping’s insane “zero COVID” policies and for the sympathy they’ve mustered for average people suffering under an oppressive yoke.
But where was this nuanced understanding when North America’s own mad COVID overreaction was in full swing?
Nowhere in evidence. In April 2021, for example, the Times’ Max Fisher was suggesting people uncritically accept future lockdown measures in the United States and western Europe and obliquely praising them as conducive to a “desire to cope by looking out for one’s neighbors.”
Contrast that with his writing on the Chinese protests last week: “Outside observers could be forgiven for seeing hints of the Arab Spring, even revolution, in the protests sweeping China’s cities.”
The paper of record also ran news articles alleging the existence of a sinister cabal of right-wingers masterminding protests against (anti-science) “stop the spread” measures and countless op-eds defending (completely useless) school closures, social isolation and other public-health disasters.
For our progressive-dominated media, US citizens pushing back against the policies that kept their kids out of school, destroyed their business and broke their lives apart were either conspiracy-minded whackjobs or their dupes. (And remember, too, that even at the time praise for Black Lives Matter protests flowed alongside simultaneous damnation of anti-lockdown protests).
Heck, one woke, lockdown-loving stalwart, The Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz, actually defended Beijing. A caption in her paper flagged “a critical flaw in Beijing’s ‘zero COVID’ strategy: a vast population without natural immunity.” Lorenz tweeted critically: “Choosing not to kill off millions of vulnerable people (as the US is doing) isn’t a ‘critical flaw.’”
The moral un-clarity It wasn’t confined to the press, either. While Joe Biden’s White House has weakly signaled modest support for China’s protests, it backed the hardline tactics used by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to break the national trucker protests against absurd COVID policies.
Yes, China’s policies are far more restrictive than anything the United States put in place — though, if the chief architect of our COVID disaster, Anthony Fauci, is to be believed, that’s not for lack of trying. The Good Doctor still argues we were not restrictive enough.
Welding people inside their apartment, dragging the infected away screaming, using the state’s massive surveillance apparatus to deprive people of their rights and strong-arming Apple into cutting off a key communication channel for the protesters are all far worse (thank God) than the harms Americans suffered.
And that’s to say nothing of the fact that China’s censors try to keep citizens in the dark about the fact the rest of the world is done with the pandemic and all restrictions.
But the appalling double standard here in the United States exposes beyond any doubt both the moral hollowness of our media and the vapidity of “public health expertise.”