Facts matter, stop lying about the coronavirus

Lauren Karmo, Campus Editor

People cannot stop talking about COVID-19, but as the quarantined days drag on, the line between fact and fiction has become murky.

I already wrote a piece talking about the dangers of spreading misinformation regarding the pandemic, but recently, some politicians and big media corporations have seen the effect of panic-inducing news, whether it’s true or not, and have been using it to gain power over the American people.

“The media” has been shouldering a lot of blame for the news they release, but it’s important we nip that right in the bud. Trusted news sources have been a saving grace during this pandemic, as their first and foremost responsibility is to the public. The purpose of a well-respected news source is to inform the people and be the watchdog of the government. There’s a reason free press is in the First Amendment.

Speaking of which, the biggest argument the faux journalists have been using to defend their lies are the “freedoms” given to them by the founding fathers. However, what these so-called constitutionalists have missed is the 1919 landmark Supreme Court ruling Schenck v. U.S., commonly known by the phrase “you can’t yell fire in a movie theater.” This ruling stated that free speech cannot be used to incite panic when there is a “clear and present danger.” Urging people to leave their homes to contract a deadly disease sounds like clear and present danger to me.

What scares me possibly more than catching the coronavirus is the state of our union. Our president has seen the fear in the hearts of his people, and instead of reassuring them and doing everything in his power to help them, he has childishly played the blame game, lied to the public and abused press conferences to push propaganda.

It was comical during the 2016 election, it was embarrassing during the 2017 inauguration, it was disheartening during the 2018 Parkland shooting and it was frustrating during the 2019 impeachment trials. In 2020, we have entered a new level of world-ending lies, and no one is being held accountable.

Fox News and the office of the president should be ashamed of themselves for allocating airtime for fools like Kellyanne Conway to say “this is COVID-19, not COVID-1, folks” in an attempt to downplay the situation. It’s disgusting and deplorable because misleading the public during a pandemic will only result in deaths.

Facts matter. People matter. The economy and politics are useless without a society for them to exist in, so there’s no use in fighting for money and power while the people who fuel this country are dying.

The president has allowed for White House press conferences to become a breeding ground for lies. He uses his platform to bully reporters for doing their jobs and insult governors for acting when he refused to.

The people who listen to his words, the people who follow him blindly — they are the ones who will hurt most from this pandemic. These are the same people who blocked ambulances as they crowded the streets of Lansing on Wednesday, April 15 to protest against our governor, Gretchen Whitmer, for doing everything she can to save us.

It’s unfair to us, the American people, that our leaders are abusing us in our time of need to seize control of the nation while they watch us suffer. Behind the scenes, the White House has been peeling back environmental restrictions, providing tax breaks to corporations and attempting to adjourn Congress in favor of acting on executive orders. All of this is happening under our noses, as the president sends another one of his actors to lie point blank on cable news.

This is not a game anymore. It’s not comical, embarrassing, disheartening or frustrating. It’s dangerous. It shouldn’t be on the public to beware of their leaders stabbing them in the back as a deadly disease ravages their bodies. This administration should be ashamed of themselves.