Media cites Trump rally for COVID-19 danger but raises no such concern for Brooklyn event

When thousands of people recently gathered in Brooklyn, several reports never even mentioned COVID-19.

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Flagging reporters for crossing the line between fact and opinion
(Just the News)
Last Updated:
June 19, 2020 - 11:19pm

With the Neutral Zone Infraction, Just the News tries to do its part to maintain the line between fact and opinion in American journalism by blowing the whistle each week on an egregious example of slanted coverage by reporters. This week's offender is not a specific individual, but rather, a collection of outlets that include some of the most influential institutions in American print, digital and broadcast media, all of which have long claimed to be unbiased news sources.

During the run-up to President Trump's first campaign rally in months, media coverage has often focused on the coronavirus-related health risks of such an event, but when thousands of people recently gathered in Brooklyn, several reports never even mentioned COVID-19.

"Thousands of marchers dressed in white flooded several blocks around the Brooklyn Museum to support human rights for black transgender people Sunday afternoon," an Associated Press story declares — but the story never once mentions coronavirus.

Similarly, an article published by CBS News starts this way: "Thousands participated in a rally and silent march for black trans lives in Brooklyn Sunday." That article contains zero references to coronavirus or the potential danger of its spread.

"Rally for Black trans lives draws enormous crowd in Brooklyn," the title of a piece on NBC News' LGBT section NBC OUT reads — the piece does not contain even one reference to COVID-19, though it does note that "a swarm of attendees covered the plaza in front of the museum and took over the road on Eastern Parkway, likely in the thousands."

"Thousands show up for black trans people in nationwide protests," a CNN headline declares. The article mentions gatherings in New York and elsewhere but never discusses the coronavirus.

A report from the New York Times did include a paragraph mentioning the virus issue: "The vast majority of the protesters wore masks, and safety teams stationed along the route gave out hand sanitizer. But the crowd was so large that six-feet social distancing was often not possible. Officials have expressed concerns that the Floyd protests could lead to the spread of the coronavirus, though there is no evidence of that so far in New York."

But while multiple reports about last weekend's large crowd in New York never once mentioned coronavirus, much of the media coverage surrounding President Trump's upcoming Tulsa, Oklahoma campaign rally has included the issue. Here are several recent headlines:

"Despite an uptick of coronavirus cases in the area and fears the event could be a COVID-19 'super-spreader,' many attendees chose to forgo masks and social distancing while in line, where people waited on lawn chairs and with tents," an NBC News story noted.

"Adding to the anxiety in Tulsa are heightened fears about the risks of the coronavirus," a New York Times article declared. "On Wednesday the top health official said he was worried the rally could become a 'super spreader' event and recommended it be postponed."

The president's rally will take place indoors at a massive BOK Center this Saturday and the registration page for the event includes a warning/disclaimer for attendees about potential COVID-19 exposure. 

An Associated Press story titled "Trump rally called ‘dangerous move’ in age of coronavirus" warned: "Scientists believe the virus spreads far more easily in crowded enclosed spaces than it does outdoors, where circulating air has a better chance of dispersing virus particles."

Juxtaposing the coverage of the large transgender-related gathering, which in several cases completely ignored issues of coronavirus, with the coverage regarding the upcoming Trump rally, which often highlights issues of coronavirus, leaves the media vulnerable to charges of bias.

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