NYT Radically Changes COVID Coverage, Look What Its Editors Now Do


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The west entrance of the New York Times building is pictured on April 28, 2016, in New York.

Special Report

The west entrance of the New York Times building is pictured on April 28, 2016, in New York. (Don Emmert – AFP / Getty Images)

 By Michael Austin  August 24, 2021 at 5:08pm

In the first two weeks of August, the United States saw a sizable uptick in its number of COVID cases.

The spike was nearly identical to another that occurred in November, save for one crucial difference — the death rate in August is considerably lower than its November counterpart.

Readers of The New York Times would not have known this, however.

Where the outlet covered COVID deaths extensively during the November spike, in August, the outlet has largely failed to report the much lower numbers.

Because of this, it appears that the Times is cherry-picking which COVID data points to cover based on which statistics will make the pandemic look worse.

The Western Journal compared the Times’ coverage of the current uptick in COVID cases from Aug. 1 to Aug. 15 to the outlet’s coverage of the spike that occurred from Nov. 1 to Nov. 15 of 2020.

Both periods of time saw COVID cases rise in a similar fashion — from Aug. 1 to Aug. 15, cases rose from 241.52 to 394.89 per million people in the U.S., based on a seven-day rolling average, according to Our World in Data. Similarly, from Nov. 1 to Nov. 15, cases rose from 262.63 to 456.24 cases per million, on a seven-day rolling average.

However, as stated above, the number of deaths caused by COVID in August was much lower than the number of deaths in November.

In November, the number of COVID deaths per day, based on a seven-day rolling average, climbed from 2.6 deaths per million on Nov. 1 to 3.52 deaths per million on Nov. 15, as reported by Our World in Data.

Is The New York Times honest in its coverage of COVID?

On Aug. 1, the number of COVID deaths per million, based on the same rolling average, was considerably lower at 1.1. By Aug. 15, that number had risen to 1.97.

For perspective, the average day in 2018 saw heart disease and cancer cause roughly 4.48 and 4.08 deaths per million people respectively, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics.

So, while cases were rising in August as they had in November, when it came to the number of actual COVID deaths, the more recent spike has not been nearly as deadly.

The New York Times has failed to mention this fact in its recent coverage. In fact, recent stories put out by the outlet have made virtually no mention of COVID deaths whatsoever.

Periodically, the outlet releases reports on the COVID pandemic titled, “Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today.”

Ten such reports were published during both periods.

When deaths were high in November, those 10 reports featured relatively extensive coverage of COVID deaths. Eight of the 10 reports — released on Nov.4, Nov. 6 (two reports were released on that day), Nov. 9, Nov. 10, Nov. 11, Nov. 12 and Nov. 13 — either cited, mentioned or featured statistics related to COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.

Conversely, when deaths were lower in August, only one of the 10 reports — released on Aug. 13 — even mentioned the number of U.S. deaths caused by COVID-19.

Near the bottom of the article, there is one sentence saying, “Over the past week, the number of new COVID-19 deaths reported in the U.S. is up by 92 percent, to an average of 616 deaths per day.”

Despite the lower death numbers, the Times’ August reports depicted COVID-19 as an existential threat in much the same way it had in November.

When deaths were low, rather than admitting as much, the Times chose to avoid reporting on that fact.

The Western Journal reached out to the New York Times for comment regarding this story but did not receive a response in time for publication.

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Michael Austin joined The Western Journal as a staff reporter in 2020. Since then, he has authored hundreds of stories, including several original reports. He also co-hosts the outlet’s video podcast, “WJ Live.”

Michael Austin joined The Western Journal as a staff reporter in 2020. Since then, he has authored hundreds of stories, including several original reports. He also co-hosts the outlet’s video podcast, “WJ Live.”

Birthplace

Ames, Iowa

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