Something momentous happened late last week, a brief pinprick of clarity piercing through the haze: President Donald Trump finally showed Americans the truth about the coronavirus.
Not with his words, of course. According to researchers at Cornell, Trump has been the single largest driver of misinformation about the pandemic. Public health experts had hoped that the president’s own infection might prompt him to become more truthful. Instead, since his release from the hospital Monday, Trump has become even bolder in his distortions, declaring that the virus is nothing to be afraid of.
On Tuesday both Facebook and Twitter blocked posts in which Trump falsely claimed that the seasonal flu is deadlier than the coronavirus.
But the president’s actions tell a more honest tale and suggest a way for the media to convey even to Trump’s loyalists the threat the virus poses: when he became the patient, Trump took it seriously. He did not react like a man who’d only gotten the flu. To convey the true danger, the media should focus on how Trump acts with regard to his own battle against the virus, rather than amplifying the things he says about how the rest of us should think of it.