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Fake COVID news: "the biggest disinformation campaign we've seen in a long time"

Matt Margolis’ new book covers how the media “beats” on President Trump with false coronavirus coverage.


Full interview:

John Solomon  0:06  
Hello, America and happy Monday morning. Yes, the start of a new week and this is John Solomon Reports, the podcast from Just the News. You've been following us long enough to know what we're about, we are so grateful that you do that. Today is not our normal day. I know you're used to me talking to you on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but I've decided that we should do a special edition again, we just did one on Friday with the great Tom Fitton from Judicial Watch. today. We've got another one. Why? Because I'd like to take a slow walk through the extraordinarily bad reporting that the American news media has committed on the COVID crisis. Listen, COVID is a serious virus, 150,000 plus deaths are too many in America. We all agree with that. But some of the reporting on this crisis from the moment it started in January, to this very past weekend, there has been enormous, enormous bad reporting, misleading reporting, politically motivated reporting, non neutral facts or non neutral opinions masquerading as facts. I mean, when you say that right, it's not that the facts are wrong. Facts aren't political. Only the people who write them are. I think that there's a lot to be had in this environment to look back at I revere journalism, I think it's important. I still believe good comes from it when you practice it neutrally, honestly, factually, accurately, precisely with balance with fairness. But I think you're going to hear from a very special guest today. His name is Matt Margolis, you may not have heard of him before. But he's a new author. He's got a great book out called Airborne that you do not want to miss. And what is it? It's a factual analysis of what the news media got wrong and he's normally an opinion writer, you're going to hear him throw the word liberal around to describe the media he's entitled to that opinion. I'm, I'm a guy that doesn't throw adjectives that much, I'd rather just stick to the facts but why this book is so important. Why we're putting it for sale on the Just the News store,, is because Matt Margolis did a good job getting us the facts. He takes a story in the New York Times, a story on CNN, and he walks the American public through why it was wrong, why it was misleading. All of the deceptive editing, all the deceptive writing, all the deceptive speak, that occurs in these stories that misled us and tried to make Donald Trump, the president, look bad when the facts didn't warrant it. Listen, when the President makes a mistake when he misspeaks the news media should do its job and point it out but in this case in the Coronavirus, when you know the real facts that Matt puts in his book Airborne, you will understand just how many times the truth was hijacked by those who are entrusted to report the truth, the news media. This is a great book. We've all talked on this show time and time again, about all the important news stories that were wrong on the Russia case, and there are now a litany of them. There's more than a dirty dozen. I think there's a dirty triple dozen. But Matt Margolis is going to walk us through 10 of the most egregious, dishonest, misleading, inaccurate, false, non neutral journalism stories that we're committed during the COVID-19 crisis. His book is a must read, this conversation is a must read, we're not going to do a monologue. We're not going to do any headlines today. We're just going to let the conversation between Matt Margolis and me resonate. These are facts, he'll put them on the table for you, you'll make up your own mind. Whether the American news media has done a good job or a bad job on COVID that's why we're doing this special edition today. If you want to get Matt's book, you go to Just the News store. It's We open this store about three four months ago you guys have been buying great things, you can get lobster and crab legs for your dinner table for the summer cookout. You can get the clean phone pro that sterilizes the germs off your cell phone every day. I use it every day. It's a daily part of my routine. Lots of great items store my book Fallout is there. And I know you all have been gracious enough to buy many, many, many copies of that. But Matt Margolis has got his book up there now Airborne, you're gonna like it. You're gonna like this conversation? Why? Because Yeah, he's an opinion writer. He writes for PJ Media, Pajamas media. But at the end of the day, what makes Matt's book so important? It's fact base. He takes the stories, and he shows you what was right and wrong about them. And I think you walk away with a better understanding of how the American news media works today, how it works against us when it does bad journalism, and of course, how it works for us when it comes to good journalism. This is a conversation I think you're enjoying, that's why we did a special edition on Monday. All right, we're gonna go to quick commercial break. Please remember to support those great advertisers and sponsors you're about to hear from they make all this possible, and when we come back, the author, Matt Margolis, the book Airborne, the topic how the American news media misled the American public during the coronavirus pandemic. We'll be right back.

Alright folks, welcome back from the commercial break. And as promised a very special guest, the great writer from PJ Media. Matt Margolis is here, he has a new book and I know this message is going to resonate with you. Because we spent a lot of time talking on this show about all the media mistakes, all the bad reporting, all the things that have not yet been corrected in the Russia collusion delusion. And it turns out that Matt has taken some great reporting of his own and showed how this happened on the coronavirus pandemic. Matt, welcome to the show.

Matt Margolis  5:49  
Well, thanks for having me.

John Solomon  5:51  
It's my pleasure to have you let me give you the title of the book if you haven't bought ordered this book yet. I did get it off Amazon. It is an amazing read. It is fast moving and informative. The book is Airborne. I love that title, How the Liberal Media Weaponized the Coronavirus against Donald Trump. Matt, this is a great book and it's so timely because you know, there was a period in the summer where we thought well, maybe this is ebbing a little bit. And then all the hysteria just came back again. Tell us what your top line is in this, what did you find that so concerns you about the way the media covered this pandemic?

Matt Margolis  6:26  
I think that the big thing about this book is that it explains how right after the whole impeachment business was over and the Russia narratives kind of fell apart, the media needed something to latch on to and it was convenient for them that the Coronavirus happened and they found their their new story to kind of beat Trump with. And so from the very beginning, once impeachment was over, they went into high gear in order to present a narrative that Trump had botched the response to the coronavirus.

John Solomon  7:01  
So another disinformation campaign, right?

Matt Margolis  7:04  
Oh, absolutely. This is probably the biggest disinformation campaign that we've seen in a long time. I mean, obviously, probably since Russia. But I mean, this could be the biggest disinformation campaign...

John Solomon  7:16  
 You've got a lot of people just scared out of the woods right now. And you know, obviously, it's a bad virus. We know that 100 and thousand, whatever, 150,000 deaths is way too many deaths. We don't like that. But the hysteria goes way beyond the science and facts. And I love as I'm reading through the book, I haven't got all the way through it yet. I get partway through it already on my Kindle. I love it. You start to lay out these extraordinary reports that when you take them apart, they're entirely bogus. They're just like the Russia collusion story or the Ukraine whistleblower story. There's just no truth to them. And so I think you've compiled a list of 10 or a dozen of your favorite media hysteria wrong, factually wrong, reported stories. Can you give us a sampling of some of your favorites?

Matt Margolis  8:02  
Well, you know, I think probably one of the biggest ones is the the myth that Donald Trump called the Coronavirus, a hoax. This is a myth that continues to this day. I still hear people talking about it, you know, whether it's the media or Democrats, you know, Joe Biden, they all say Donald Trump called it a hoax. He said absolutely no such thing. And in this day and age where everything is recorded, there's video of everything and transcripts, there's no excuse for this, no excuse whatsoever. He basically... what he actually said was that the Coronavirus, just like the fake Russian collusion narrative, was the Democrats' new hoax. This new fake thing they're trying to throw on him to make it out to be his problem that that he's responsible for and it was the politicization, specifically that he was talking about.

John Solomon  8:48  
He wasn't talking about the virus or the seriousness of it, right?

Matt Margolis  8:51  
No, not at all. And you know, at the time that he had made that comment during the rally. I mean, his administration had already been well underway addressing the virus and and doing things that people weren't even aware of because they were so distracted by impeachment.

John Solomon  9:07  
Yeah, in fact, the Democrats were the early people saying, oh, don't worry about it. We had Nancy Pelosi out there saying go to China, the China New Year celebrations. It's okay. You had Fauci say go on a cruise. If you're healthy, no problem. Don't wear a mask. You don't need to wear a mask. It turns out that actually the people who now are critical of the President, were the ones that gave us a lot of the bad information in the beginning. Talk about the decision. I love this part in the book, because I think he really drilled down in a way that I hadn't seen it done before. And I've gotten through this. The President makes the very fateful decision and I say fateful because it probably saved a lot of lives, to shut down travel with China in January and all of a sudden people are calling him a xenophobe. Walk us through how the media has flip flopped on that event in late January, which really had a profound effect on probably slowing the spread of the virus early on in America.

Matt Margolis  9:59  
Yeah, this is a pretty amazing story because of just exactly how the media and Democrats have flip flopped on this. You know, Trump ... travel with China very early. China was obviously the epicenter of the virus. That's where it started. And it exploded there. And his initial response at the end of January was to close travel China, and the response of the Democrats and media was oh, he's a racist. He's you know, Xenophobic. This is feeling anti Asian sentiment and, you know, it just was an endless stream of accusations of racism.  Joe Biden himself called xenophobic... But you know that the problem was is that eventually there was this realization that this actually had worked. There are experts that said this actually did work. It prevented a lot of deaths. Dr. Fauci even said it prevented us from becoming another Italy, and people should remember that Italy totally did not have the coronavirus under control and it was widespread there and a total disaster. So, you know, Donald Trump saved this from that there's no other way to put it. But you know, what happened next was that over time, you know, we saw other countries, you know, closing their borders and stopping travel. And, you know, so everyone's following suit. You know, the World Health Organization said that travel bans didn't work. And they had essentially reversed that. And, you know, Joe Biden eventually said that Trump should have done it sooner. Well, I mean, this is the kind of stuff that we're seeing here is that, you know, people like Joe Biden is running for president to try to get Trump out of office is basically trying to take credit for a position that he did not have. 

John Solomon  11:45  
Ee see it on trade too. He did that recently. Now he's for going to war with China on trade and fighting for the American worker where for a decade Joe Biden was saying, China's not a threat to us. They're good guys. And it is remarkable to watch him flip flop. you capture this In the book really, really well. Why is the media... So I don't know if the words gullible... but why do they keep falling into this trap of reporting things that aren't accurate and then doubling down on it until the American people realize we've been sold a bad bill of goods? It's Russia. It's Ukraine. It's COVID. We'll probably find 10 others but what's up with the media? Why are we so wrong right now?

Matt Margolis  12:24  
Well, I think when it comes down to is its ratings, you know, there was the MSNBC producer who just left us, they said MSNBC basically drives... everything is driven by ratings, and their audiences, anti Trump audience... And she even said that, you know, as soon as the pandemic happened, you know, their coverage was focused on that anti Trump narrative and not the science. It was all about politics. And so what they do is they report on something, it gets widespread and people start talking about it, repeating it as if it's true, and they correct it later. But no one talks about a correction they only talk about the story that wasn't true. And we've seen that time and time again. You know, it's like I said before, people still think think that Trump called it a hoax. People still think that, you know, Trump. I mean, there's all sorts of stories out there, where, you know, Trump said that he wanted praise from governors in exchange for federal assistance. That wasn't true. He didn't say that. You know, but those stories they get out there, and people repeated enough that it doesn't matter what was originally reported. It matters that people are still talking about it as if it was true.

John Solomon  13:22  
Yeah, once you create reality, but I don't know ... PT Barnum... but someone said if you report something false 10 times people begin to treat it as truth. And we live in this area of information warfare, where it seems now that reporting mistruths is you know, intentional, certainly by politicians, and the media seems to fall into it now. When we talk about this you know, it's one thing when MSNBC does something because they obviously have a clear political ... but what really has concerned me, I grew up you know, reading all of the, the mainstream newspapers I used to ... as a young kid I'd love Jack Anderson's newspaper column, I couldn't wait for the next one to come out. The first subscription I ever had personally myself wasNew York Times because I was proud, as a journalist, you know, to read it. And back in those days, you got real news. It isn't just the MSNBCs of the world that are distorting this, give us some examples in big name newspapers, big name networks, where you found the reporting to be completely off, not only off balance, but off fact.

Matt Margolis  14:22  
Well the New York Times was responsible for, you know, claiming that Trump had won praise from governors in exchange for federal assistance. And they were also responsible for the false claim that the Trump had told governors, they were on their own and getting medical equipment. And, you know, once the New York Times reports something, everyone else kind of falls suit. So you get so you get everybody talking about it. You know, there was another story about, Trump said that Google was working on a national website to, you know, for helping people find, you know, testing it nationwide, and the media just jumped on that claiming that it was false. And, you know, eventually you know, Google had to come in and say this is true. We're actually doing this. But even after that, even after they came out and said that, you know, this is this is legit. You know, you had a New York Times editorial board member accusing Google of covering up for Trump.

John Solomon  15:15  
Yeah. Cancel culture at its best right now. I mean, the bullyism. We've seen this. You mentioned the... I actually wrote about this myself personally on our site, Just the News. You get the MSNBC reporter saying it's all about ratings. You have Barry Weiss saying it's all about Twitter clicks. Is it the business model alone that's distorting it? Or do we have a generation of journalists who now are less concerned about the process and more concerned about the outcome?

Matt Margolis  15:45  
You know, I mean, I honestly think that a lot of it has to do with this what people want. People when they decide where they're going to get their news from they want to be told what they want to hear. And I think that if the media is responding to this unfortunately because that, you know, money drives everything they need the ratings. They need these people. They don't want to offend their audience by telling them something that they don't want to hear and you know, for most of the mainstream media, which is very liberal, they want to hear Trump is to blame. It's all Trump's fault, and you're gonna die because Trump is going to kill you.

John Solomon  16:18  
Yeah. And it's really remarkable. The when you look at these coronavirus, press conferences handicap what's going on in the room. I mean, first off, I'm just shocked that there are reporters that sit in their chair when they ask a question of the President, they don't even rise the way that I was taught when I worked at the AP, if you're going to ask the president a question you get out of your chair, you stand at attention, you know, it isn't because you're saluting the man. It's because you're recognizing respecting the office but you have these reporters sitting in the chairs asking questions of the President. How do you handicap how the White House briefing particularly as it relates to coronavirus? What does it become Is it an information gathering exercise or a political exercise?

Matt Margolis  17:00  
You know, when I've watched those, all I see is a bunch of reporters that think they've got the best gotcha question that they can throw at him. And we just see time and time again. And it's getting kind of exhausting, because if they're they're trying to create a narrative, they're not trying to get the information. The science doesn't matter. The facts don't matter. It's the narrative. And this is what journalism, I said that in air quotes, is about now, it's not about the facts and letting the people decide. It's about presenting a narrative for their audience. And, you know, in many ways, it was kind of nice when the press briefings of the taskforce kind of paused but I also do think that now more than ever, we probably need them back because we need Trump in the White House to to get information out there that's not getting reported.

John Solomon  17:53  
Well, listen, I i've been saying this, and it's the first time I'm going to say it publicly on this podcast, but I've been working behind the scenes, it is time for President Trump, for Kaylee McEnaney, for Mark Meadows, for Jared Kushner, those in the White House who have the ability to make this decision. It's time to create a second White House press poll to create competition. ... has had a monopoly the ... has had a monopoly on that room and for so long, and just like we see elsewhere, the social media there's just a lot of... I don't know what the word is here, censorship going on by the way they conduct these briefings. They don't ask the people's questions anymore. They ask their own grandi grandstanding questions and the briefings don't really elicit the sort of information that we would get when Marlin Fitzwater would would tangle with sam donaldson at the reagan or bush briefings. At least they may have been. They may have been confrontational but at least you got news at least you were asking the people's questions and today all you get is political effect and I think it's time, I'll say this publicly for the first time, I almost never expressed an opinion. But since it's a professional opinion about the state of the news media, it is time for this White House to create a pool. Listen, America always thrives when there's competition. ... had no competition and in the middle of coronavirus in the middle of an economic crisis in the middle of facing other challenges, t'd be nice if there are some reporters that are actually interested in the facts and the news of the day. And I hope that people read your book and come out and say, that's why we need to change this monopoly on thought that the White House Correspondents Association has put at the White House, it's, you know, it's one thing to ask tough questions. I'm all for that. But it's not about asking tough questions. It's about asking political gotchas and ignoring the news of the day and I think that your book makes the best case of anything I've read in the last 10 years. Why we need some competition in the news media and starting with the White House briefing where if done, right, you can bring some real news every day get the American people what they need to know. Instead, we get a lot of late night comedy gets out of it, it's terrible.

Matt Margolis  20:02  
Right we got the White House wasting a lot of time trying to get information out there that the media doesn't want to report, and and and they shouldn't be wasting time doing that, you know, I mean, we've seen several times the the White House putting out these montages of old coronavirus reporting where they were downplaying the virus right after they had been accusing Trump of downplaying the virus, that shouldn't be necessary. This is not what the media is supposed to be. They're supposed to be giving us the facts instead of trying to present bogus narratives because they don't like the president.

John Solomon  20:32  
Yeah. Listen, if the President does something wrong, and it's factually true, we should write about it. 

Matt Margolis  20:36  
Absolutely, I mean, he is his own worst enemy most of the time when he says things that you know, aren't completely correct or, or maybe a little bit triggering for some people, but for the most part, you know, he's been trying to do his job and the media doesn't want to let them do that.

John Solomon  20:53  
Yeah, there's no benefit of doubt in factors really the the benefit of propaganda I mean... Almost every episode is taken to an extreme that you know a person who's watching it. I mean, when I went to journalism school, I had a professor who said something, you know, anyone can have accurate facts. The question is, did you precisely capture what happened if someone walked in the room and watched it independent of your writing where they say, Yeah, he or she got it, right. That's exactly what happened in the room. And so many times, I'll talk to someone who watched the briefing because you know, millions of people love these briefings they love when the President comes out and gives a briefing, and they're like, I just read all the stories and nothing of that happened. It doesn't look like what happened in the briefing. That's how far journalism has gotten astray. You you've done an incredible job and folks if you have not bought this book, do it this week and make it your weekend reading while you're cleaning up from the storms up northeast or from the hot weather in the southwest. This is must reading it's my new favorite book. And I have my own book out I just love this book is fantastic. Airborne: How the Liberal Media Weaponized Coronavirus against Donald Trump. Get it I love it because it lays out in raw, factual detail, irrefutable evidence that the media has misreported time and time again what's going on in the Trump White House on coronavirus. Now you you've you've diagnosed the patients so well in this book. Now, I'm not all the way through it. So you may have a prescription at the end. But if you're prescribing how we fix this beast, the media, how we get over Trump syndrome in the media, what are the things that need to happen going forward to get a more honest account from our news media, to get a more neutral... really all we're asking for is honesty and neutrality, right? Leave your opinion at the door, but how do you fix it when they're so far down this rabbit hole?

Matt Margolis  22:39  
You know, it's a very good question. You know, I think that, you know, the answer is telling them like it is there that if they can get it faster through other means, try it. There's nothing wrong with that.

John Solomon  22:53  
Yeah, it's just remarkable. That's the good enough, you just captured the good and the bad of Twitter, right which on Twitter, you can link through and give people transparency. But also because Twitter is really a universe that lives in only 149 characters. You can deceive people with these short handed crazy-ologies and your analysis and, won't call it take down because you're just being factual. Your analysis of how ... created that firestorm is so remarkable. And just one of the many great revelations in this book, folks, if you haven't downloaded, I'm telling you, you want to get this book. This is my new favorite book. I'm finishing it up this weekend. While I'm hanging out with family, I'm going to read the rest of it this weekend, but it's a must read book, because it's not only a story about coronavirus misinformation. It's a story about how our news media has become so politically involved and has strayed from the traditional roll that is neutral arbiters of the truth, neutral fact providers. There's just an extraordinary opportunity here to understand the art of deception that these news media organizations have begun to use in the era of Trump. Man, I want to thank you for your time. Folks that we're selling it on the Just the News, if you go to, Just the News, our official store, we've got Matt's book there, we hope you grab it there. Tell us all the other ways that people can get this great book and get it in their Kindle or get it in their mailbox as quickly as possible.

Matt Margolis  24:20  
Well, you know, I think best place for people to go is either, you know, through your website and click there and you know, it is on Amazon, you know, as an E book and paperback, I definitely recommend reading it and, you know, of course, the media hasn't stopped lying. So, I think it's important to also tune into, you know, my articles, I'm always writing about the latest whoppers that the media is talking about with regard to the coronavirus. And, you know, I think it's important to understand this is all about trying to influence the the upcoming election. And this is why this is an important book for people to read to understand just how far the media is going and deceiving the public.

John Solomon  25:01  
Well, the factual predicate for what you've done, you take real stories, and then you give people the real facts that are omitted or twisted in these stories. That's great journalism. And I want to thank you for the effort you put in. I know this wasn't easy to write in the middle of the pandemic as history is unfolding while you're writing it. But for me, it was a very important read. And it's part of the introspection that I think the American public has to begin to examine our news media with a very noble profession has gone very much off the rails and I think you've done a good job in a living history, because this is still going on even as your book comes out, in capturing what's wrong and I hope you and I and others who share these concerns can find a way to toggle our profession back to the middle where facts matter and and political outcome shouldn't and I want to thank you again, folks, get this book. It's on my Kindle right now. You should get it too Airborne: How the Liberal Media Weaponized the Coronavirus against Donald Trump. It's by Matt Margolis, who has been kind enough to spend the time with us here today, get it put it on your shelf. Read it. It is an unbelievable book. You'll agree with so much of what Matt writes because he backs it up with facts. How about that something novel in today's journalism profession facts? Unbelievable. Well, Matt, thank you for the time. We're looking forward to wish you success with the book. We look forward to having you on, on the podcast going forward, because I'm sure we're gonna have a lot more to talk about with coronavirus in the medium, all the way up to election day. So thank you. 

Matt Margolis  26:27  
Thanks for having me. 

John Solomon  26:28  
All right, folks, when we come back from the commercial break, we're gonna wrap things up. I hope you've enjoyed this great interview with Matt Margolis.