Covid tears: ‘No masks nurse’ story shows how pandemic is newfound opportunity for MSM to peddle emotionally-charged fake news
In a clip aired on Sunday but filmed a week earlier, nurse Imaris Vera bursts into tears and describes how she quit her job after “none of the nurses” in a dedicated coronavirus unit were wearing masks. Furthermore, she called out her Chicago hospital for banning nurses from using their own protective equipment in the facility.
“America is not prepared,” she sobbed, “and nurses are not being protected.”
In tears, a nurse says she quit her job after she was asked to work in a coronavirus ICU without a face mask: “America is not prepared, and nurses are not being protected” https://t.co/ywoSuLOPYPpic.twitter.com/S5BsnlO5nt— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 5, 2020
On the surface, the video is a damning indictment of the US government’s response to the pandemic. Indeed, the media have frequently lambasted President Donald Trump for failing to act quick enough to contain the spread of the virus.
But dig a little deeper and the story begins to collapse. Vera admitted in a tweet on Saturday that she had actually been assigned an N95 respirator to wear, despite claiming in the video that “none of the nurses” in her ICU unit were wearing masks. Whether her hospital banned the wearing of masks in hallways and corridors to preserve supplies is still unclear.
Furthermore, the nurse didn’t quit her job after a long and tireless struggle against the coronavirus. Her social media posts revealed that she quit on her first day on the job. According to her Facebook page, the woman had taken a year off, during which time she had built a career as a blogger and Instagram model. Since the virus hit US shores, she’s used her Instagram page to promote boutique hand sanitizer and designer nurse’s scrubs.
That’s not to say the woman wasn’t feeling scared. Flogging luxury hand sanitizer isn’t a sin, and neither is feeling overwhelmed. Vera claims on her social media profiles that she suffers from “anxiety and bi-polar depression,” and has said that the information overload surrounding the coronavirus “triggers” her.
However, had the CBS News team done some basic vetting, they would have learned that they were dealing with an unreliable source.
But then again, maybe CBS didn’t care about accuracy. After all, this is the same network that used footage last month from an overwhelmed Italian ICU ward in a story about the outbreak in New York. Before airing the misleading footage, CBS described it as “right here” in New York.
During a Pandemic it is essential that the Media gives us real and accurate information.It’s completely irresponsible for @CBSNews to use footage from an Italian Hospital when talking about the outbreak in New York City.This is unacceptable. pic.twitter.com/Essp4uEHle— ALX 🇺🇸 (@alx) March 30, 2020
The mix-up was later blamed by CBS on an “editing mistake.”
The pursuit of headlines – particularly ones that damage the Donald Trump administration – by the mainstream media has previously led to some suspicious mistakes. CBS opened 2020 by declaring that it had caught a group of firefighters making a “‘white power’ hand gesture” in a group photo, regurgitating a long-disproven internet hoax.
When President Trump withdrew US forces from Kurdish-controlled northern Syria last year, the media accused him of giving Turkey a “green light” to move in and annihilate the Kurds. In a report on the “slaughter in Syria,” ABC News showed a torrent of fire and explosions, supposedly unleashed on the Kurds by the Turks. Except the footage was actually shot at a Kentucky gun range, some 6,200 miles (10,000km) away. ABC said at the time that it regretted “the error.”
Whether its aim is to mislead viewers or to tug on heartstrings, the media hasn’t missed an opportunity to rush dodgy footage in front of viewers. Such videos may generate clicks, but they also lend credence to President Trump’s oft-repeated assertion that the “fake news media” doesn’t care about the truth.Also on rt.com Hating Boris: For US liberals, the Covid-19-stricken UK PM is a proxy for Trump
And meanwhile, reports from around the world suggest that the Trump administration is doing all it can to pressure industry into keeping masks in the US. Amid reports of American buyers snapping up shipments bound for other countries, Trump said on Saturday that “we need the masks, we don’t want other people getting it.”
Trump’s ‘America First’ approach to acquiring these masks has also been criticized heavily by the media.
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