Bernie’s Q&A: Coronavirus Edition (4/3) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)
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Now, let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
Sir, I have been watching & reading a variety of sources on the Coronavirus crisis. It is very disappointing to me how little the media knows about emergency management and Incident Management structure/authorities. It seems that everyone believes the Federal government is in charge and they can just take over. The systems, legal authorities, and structures are easily researchable. Providing context of this system would be very useful in holding elected officials at all levels accountable. Have journalists just become so lazy that they are unwilling to do the research to more accurately report on this crisis? -- David
I don't know much about emergency management and incident management structure/authorities, either. In fact I know nothing about these things you mention, David. And so I'm not sure how they fit in to the discussion. I listen to the daily news conferences and haven't heard anything about these things either. I think if the president used the terms you mention, journalists would be much more likely to do the research you think they should do. I know this isn't a satisfying answer, my friend, but the topics have not been brought up by the Coronavirus team the president has assembled ... and so they're off the radar of most journalists (if not all journalists).
"The U.S. has the most Coronavirus cases in the world." Ok ... however, what percentage of the population has the virus ... that's the info I need. You got a lot of people ... you may have a lot of virus infections. Malta: 156 cases/383,000 pop = .04% of pop; UK: 22,500/63,700,000 = .035%; Italia: 102,000/60,000,000 = .17; U.S.: 141,000/330,151,000 = .042. Not great for the U.S., however, could be worse. Isn't this the kind of info we need, Bernie, not just sensational stuff on number of cases? Am I wrong? -- Mike S.
Here's the problem, Mike. Without many more tests, we can't know how many Americans have the virus ...and so we can't come up with a percentage. As for journalists reporting the raw numbers, the total number of cases: I'm OK with that. If it scares people, maybe it should. This is serious stuff. But to your point: As more Americans are tested, we'll have a better idea what the percentage of the total population is. Stay tuned.
Bernie, I very much enjoyed and laughed at your April Fool's column. Well done. From what I saw on social media, a lot of others liked it as well. However, I did notice that the Washington Post's Aaron Blake replied to the piece on Twitter, writing, "No. Let's just not do this today. April Fool's is bad."
Others complained (with lots of profanity) that with the global pandemic in full swing, April Fool's jokes were tasteless.
Is there no room for harmless and obviously satirical humor during a health crisis (especially when it had nothing to do with the health crisis)? It seems to me that we could all use a good smile or laugh right now. -- Ben G.
They're entitled to their opinions, of course. That said, I wonder if they'd be upset if someone who shared their political views posted an April Fool's column. You know what I mean? Besides, this isn't a joke. I really am the new Fake News Czar. Oops, I did it again. Sorry those who are offended. Not really.
Fox News has been taking a lot of criticism over a number of its commentators going out of their way to downplay the seriousness of the coronavirus crisis (to help Trump politically), even as late as mid-March. Sean Hannity, Jesse Watters, Jeanine Pirro, and Ainsley Earhardt among them. The network apparently fired Trish Regan for calling the crisis an "impeachment scam," but she wasn't even the worst of the bunch on this. Being that millions of viewers tune into these people every day for their news and views, do you think the network or these individuals should have to answer for stoking a false sense of public security, and probably encouraging some reckless behavior (like continuing their social daily rituals) from their viewers? -- Jen R.
First let me say that Sean Hannity, Jesse Watters, Jeanine Pirro and to a lesser extent Ainsley Earhardt are Trump bootlickers who we should not take seriously. Jesse Watters in particular is a dolt. But to your main point, Jen: Yes, these sycophants should have to answer "for stoking a false sense of public security" ... but FNC's most loyal viewers aren't complaining. Who's going to hold them accountable? Fox News management? Tell me when you stop laughing.
Any number of things could happen by the time this gets answered, but I didn't want to pass up the chance to submit this question.
During the Kavanaugh hearings, lots of Dems (including Feinstein and Pelosi) were saying that Christine Blasey Ford should be believed based solely on her testimony because she's a woman, and we should "believe all women." They said this even though Ford had no evidence to confirm her accusations, and her best friend actually denied that the party in question ever occurred. SO...will Feinstein, Pelosi, Ford, and the other Dems simply believe Tara Reade now that she is accusing Joe Biden of sexual assault?
I mean, that's what they kept shouting during the Kavanaugh hearings, so now that a Warren supporter is making these accusations against Joe Biden, I mean...they'll simply believe her without question and dump Biden...right? RIGHT!? -- Hypocritical Leftist Me Too Nonsense Regards From The Emperor
Listen to my Off the Cuff on the subject which aired last Monday.
I find myself lately focusing on COVID-19 stories that discuss the back side and recovery of the pandemic, probably because they provide a ray of hope and constructive action. In my view, we can only hunker down so long because the human body and spirit have to get out and liberate themselves. Also, we can't just kill the patient (the U.S. and world economies) in order to cure the disease. It seems like if we increase the level of testing to show who is at low risk or has the antibodies present, those people should be allowed to re-enter society and common areas. This would be followed by a slow release of other people and activities into our communities, activities, and marketplaces. I think we're in for a rough two months of protecting and hunkering down. June should be a realistic time frame to slowly transition into normalcy. In your opinion, what is our path out of this, and what does it look like? -- Steve R.
You may be on to something Steve, but I have a concern: When the risk gets to a point when it's low -- or at least lower than it is now -- what about people considered high risk -- older folks, people with debilitating conditions, etc? What do they do? A younger, healthier person can assess the risk and decide what to do. That person may very likely decide it's time to get back to business, to go out to a restaurant, whatever. The ones in high risk groups will also have to make a decision. But the consequences if they choose wrong ... could be fatal. So June may indeed be a realistic time frame to move toward normalcy ... for some, but not for all.
For weeks, the CDC told Americans that wearing medical/surgical masks offered no protection against the coronavirus, and that doing so was even counterproductive. As it turns out, they had only said that because they were worried that consumers would purchase too many masks, and thus diminish the supply available to hospitals and doctors offices. In fact, healthy people wearing masks while in public DOES significantly lower their risk of getting the virus, and some elected leaders are now recommending masks for regular citizens. While I understand why the CDC did what they did, I don't like our government agencies tricking us with propaganda (instead of just leveling with us about the shortage and recommending homemade masks/bandanas). Plus, it makes me wonder how many more people caught the virus as a result. What are your thoughts? -- Ian M.
I'm with you, Ian. If we should wear masks, tell us that. If we don't need to, tell us that. But tell us the truth ... otherwise we won't believe the government next time it tells us something. And in a crisis, that can be very dangerous.
What do you think of the charge that our federal government was unprepared for the coronavirus because they were busy and distracted with Trump's impeachment hearings? I've heard this mostly from Trump supporters, but even Trump seemed to shoot down that claim in a recent press conference, saying it had no effect. -- Alan S.
I think it's ridiculous. Are we really supposed to believe that the Trump administration would have been ordering ventilators and masks and hospital gowns but impeachment distracted them? I'm not buying it for a second.
Did you ever work with longtime CBS journalist Maria Mercader, who recently passed away from the coronavirus? -- Joseph T.
Thanks, everyone! You can send me questions for next week using the form below! You can also read previous Q&A sessions by clicking here.