Americans have mixed feelings about many institutions amid the virus crisis, a recent Gallup poll found, but they’re unanimous in their disdain for one institution: the media. That’s a “disaster for a liberal democracy,” sighs National Review’s David Harsanyi — and the blame lies with “the press’ own blinkered, sanctimonious and transparently partisan temperament.” That especially includes prestige outlets like The Washington Post and The New York Times. While “institutional bias” at the two papers “isn’t new,” both used to have “a corresponding level of professional gravitas that engendered reader trust.” No longer, as shown by the “frivolous gotchas rather than pertinent questions” they’ve flung at President Trump’s coronavirus task force briefings. Bottom line: The media’s “ineptitude and malfeasance” are especially “dangerous during a pandemic.”
Physician: Next Up, Herd Immunity
At Spectator USA, critical-care physician and medicine professor Matt Strauss cheers draconian “measures to suppress COVID-19 through enforced social distancing,” which have already suppressed the outbreak in Wuhan, China, and will likely achieve the same in the West in coming weeks and months. But in the long term, policymakers should “aim to achieve herd immunity in a controlled and strategic manner,” lest the virus return with a vengeance once lockdown measures are lifted. That would involve deploying widespread testing, as Germany and South Korea have done, plus exploiting the virus’ unique mortality profile — “people under 50 are 25 times less likely to die of COVID-19 than people over 80” — to gradually expose less vulnerable groups until herd immunity is achieved. Yes, social distancing was necessary, otherwise neither young nor old “would have taken the pandemic seriously.” That said, “once these measures have proved their effect, and the virus is demonstrably suppressed, public health authorities could consider ratcheting restrictions down” while remaining mindful of “demographic vulnerability” among the elderly and infirmed.
Conservative: Don’s Inconvenient Popularity
“When polls showed that President Donald Trump was receiving unusually high marks for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic,” liberals and their media allies went, first, through the denial stage, quips The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway. The left had tried to “craft a narrative” that the coronavirus spread was Trump’s fault — and just couldn’t believe the American people wouldn’t accept it. Then ideologies “began blaming [Trump’s] press conferences” — and now they’re “demanding he shut them down.” It’s shameful but unsurprising and all too telling that such calls for “censorship” have also gained the support of a spokesman for “Communist China’s Foreign Ministry.”
Libertarian: Digital to the Rescue
“A vibrant digital economy” is catering to the public’s “myriad” needs as the pandemic forces the world to retreat indoors, cheers the Taxpayers Protection Alliance’s Ross Marchand at The Washington Examiner. Thanks to e-commerce and countless tech firms, people “can be #TogetherApart and support each other.” Companies and organizations can hold meetings via Skype and Zoom. Those seeking health information can follow epidemiologists and intellectuals on social media. The “digital domain” also offers “speedy deliveries of foodstuffs and other essential items.” The vital role of these tech services shouldn’t be lost on lawmakers, like Sen. Josh Hawley, who “question their value and scheme to regulate them out of existence.” Over-regulation will only make us “less prepared in the future.”
Religion beat: A Corona ‘Great Awakening’?
In The Wall Street Journal, Robert Nicholson wonders: “Could a plague of biblical proportions be America’s best hope for religious revival?” After all, “the pandemic has remade everyday life and wrecked the global economy in a way that feels apocalyptic.” For a nation with a biblical foundation, however, “cataclysms need not mark the end. They are a call for repentance and revival. As the pandemic subjects US hospitals to a fearsome test, Americans can find solace” in the faith of their forefathers. “Great struggle can produce great clarity.”
— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board