China’s Censorship Helped Start a Pandemic. Can Free Speech End It?

China’s Censorship Helped Start a Pandemic. Can Free Speech End It?


Li Wenliang died at 2:58 on February 7th, 2020. We deeply regret and mourn this. When Wuhan Central Hospital announced
the death of the 34 year old ophthalmologist on the social media site
Weibo there was an outpouring of sadness and anger in China. It was one of the
first signs that something far more troubling was happening in the city of
Wuhan than the Chinese government was letting on. When Wenliang had tried to
alert his colleagues via WeChat that he was witnessing an alarming spike in
respiratory illnesses, the local government forced him and eight other
people to sign apologetic admissions of rumor-mongering and that was the
beginning of a disinformation campaign by government leaders around the world
that would help turn a crisis into a global pandemic. Chinese officials later
assured the public they’d found no human-to-human transmissions of the viral
pneumonia he’d posted about and that the disease was preventable and controllable. In January government officials shut down the food
market where they suspected the disease had originated. Nine days later a 61 year
old man who regularly shopped at the market became the first known fatality.
But what government officials failed to tell the public was that his wife, who had never visited the market, also caught the virus, meaning that it was transmittable among humans. As the hospital ward filled and workers began to fall ill China’s politicians still refused to acknowledge for weeks that
human to human transmission was happening even staging a 40,000 family
potluck in Wuhan and instructing hospitals not to use the words viral
pneumonia on lung scan reports as the death toll in China climbed the national
government pointed fingers at local authorities and Wu Hans mayor said his
hands were tied by a national law requiring approval from central
authorities before declaring an epidemic in late January Lee texted a New York
Times reporter from his hospital bed that if the officials had disclosed the
information about the epidemic earlier I think it would have been a lot better
there should have been more openness and transparency concern for the need to
better guide public opinion on the issue turned out to be President Xi’s
rationale for refusing to disclose human to human transmission for several weeks
in February authorities jailed an act serviced who dared criticize she’s
handling of the crisis a journalist reporting stories inside Wuhan critical
of the government’s response disappeared as did a wealthy tycoon who publicly
blamed the Communist Party’s speech restrictions for worsening the spread as
the first u.s. patients began testing positive the Trump administration
downplayed the threat it’s going to disappear one day it’s like a miracle it
will disappear there’s no reason to panic because we have done so good is it
real it absolutely is real there is no question about it but you saw the
president the other day the flu is real 15 people and the 15 within a couple of
days is going to be down to close to zero I think this is going to be what
brings down the president that’s what this is all about the lag in testing was
in fact a failing do you take responsibility for that yeah no I don’t
take responsibility at all but there’s also an enormous difference between the
country that jails dissenting voices and the US with its strong First Amendment
protections the media and political class have derided Twitter and Facebook
for lacking adequate gatekeepers but it was through these platforms that medical
professionals technologists epidemiologists and everyday citizens
bypassed the media and the government to implore their fellow citizens to act a
Twitter thread from a member of a seattle-based medical team that defied
the CDC to run tests and discovered an outbreak in the city in sequence the
genome got the word out about the value of social distancing long before the
federal government did yell social scientist and physician Nicholas
Christakis explained the science of disease spread to further promote social
distancing and self isolation in threads shared thousands of times On January
30th technologists and venture capitalists bulgy Srinivasan asked on
Twitter what if this corona virus is the pandemic that Public Health people have
been warning about four years and then began encouraging the cancellation of
events pleading for more early testing and warning about the lack of reliable
information coming out of China he was critical of early media coverage that
often downplayed the threat of the outbreak with facile comparisons to the
flu and flippant dismissals of companies in Silicon Valley that began taking
precautions early of course this non-issue turned out to be very much
YouTube and it weren’t simply getting the story wrong but they were actively
attempting to shame and silence people getting the story to bright
and some of them you know later in sincerely apologized others wrote you
know columns about how they got the story long the slightly more insincere
women once Trump started adopting their early talking points about how the virus
was just flu several of them have reversed themselves and pretended you
know they’ve been taking it seriously all along as the government continues to
stumble the decentralized response has been forthcoming with individuals
voluntarily self isolating after the flatten the curve chart was circulated
widely on social media doctors in Seattle defied the federal government to
test for Cova nineteen states like Colorado implemented their own
drive-through testing stations and mayors and governors began taking
extreme measures to protect the spread within dense city centers but to keep
the decentralized response going information channels will need to remain
as open as possible to this day dissenters in China are being muzzled or
worse and the Trump administration has classified several top-level coronavirus
meetings American social media is chaotic confusing and full of bad actors
and misinformation wild speculation abounds
but that wild freewheeling conversation keeps us safer than a censored press or
even a free press controlled by professionals
the contagious spread of information in a race against the contagious spread of
the disease remains a powerful weapon when confronting this global emergency you

100 Comments on "China’s Censorship Helped Start a Pandemic. Can Free Speech End It?"


  1. The real question, will Google and Youtube censor and demote videos like this in order to kowtow to their CCP overlord?

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  2. F** YOU DONALD TRUMP YOU SINGLE-HANDEDLY HELPED THIS DISEASE INFECT PEOPLE BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T WANT MASS HYSTERIA OVER A PANDEMIC WHICH IS WHAT YOU GOT ANY WAY I HOPE YOU GET CORONAVIRUS*

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  3. The next time you try to defend China, keep in mind that this is a country that now has a MANDATORY "social credit system" that now punishes people with bad internet speeds, hindered travel, & bad schools for their kids. Even for just buying things like anime. It embodies the idea, "beat a dog enough & it'll stop barking; it might even do tricks for you." When they say the #coronavirus isn't their fault, you have no reason to trust them.
    There's a reason Max Brooks made them the first nation to be infected in World War Z.

    Reply

  4. once this is all over i sincerely hope that the western world begins to finally look at china for what they really are and that if we continue to treat them as a friendly nation that we could very easily run into something like this again, perhaps even worse

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  5. I don't wanna hear ANY praise for China. Their handling of this pandemic is on par with Russia's handling of Chernobyl, and it's killed even more than that.

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  6. If its the case with all communist regime to censor everything at the center level they all the hell will break loose just like that. As a world society we require freedom of mostly every basic human rights.

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  7. Great story, but I wish you had mentioned South African Winston Sterzel and American Matthew Tye for their citizen journalism on social media, primarily here on YouTube as SerptentZA (Winston), LaoWhy86 (Matt), and ADVChina (collaboration channel). They were the earliest I saw sounding the alarm bells, calling out China and the WHO, digging up insider information (THE TRUTH), calling out China's state media, and shaming western media for downplaying it or comparing it to the flu. Because of those guys I stocked up in JANUARY.

    I feel they really deserved some credit here. These guys had a huge following on YouTube from their years living in China as expat vloggers so they were ready to pivot to citizen journalists at the first sign of trouble. You and your other subscribers would definitely be interested in what they have to say. They espouse Libertarian ideals often, talk about their own Libertarian values, and bring a perspective few other westerners could ever have. As a Libertarian, the only thing I don't like is Winston's constant ragging on "parallel traders" (resellers). 😉

    Reply

  8. Let's be clear about it and stop using China or Chinese to represent who's really responsible — the CCP.

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  9. I doesn't help that China has such poor public health conditions for it's food, and a huge amount of international travel.

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  10. the numbers was low in jan or feb , . Only March the Virus Numbers Jump like crazy … Corona Virus Update — March 22th 2020 —
    Within 23 Days – 53/0 * 233/12 * 338/17
    14 Days Ago 444 / 19
    13 Days Ago 554 / 22
    12 Day Ago – 624 Infested / 26 Death
    11 Days Ago 950 Infested / 30 Death
    10 Days Ago – 1329 Infested / 38 Death
    9 Days Ago 1762 Infested / 41 Death
    8 Days Ago – 2330 Infested / 50 Death
    7 Days Ago – 3045 Infested / 60 Death
    6 Days Ago – 3805 Infested / 69 Death
    5 Days Ago – 4743 Infested / 93 Death
    4 Days Ago – 6524 Infested / 116 Death * 106 Recovered
    3 Days Ago – 9521 Infested / 159 Death * 108 Recovered
    2 Days Ago – 14,439 Infested / 218 Death * 125 Recovered
    Yesterday – 24,796 Infested / 293 Death * 171 Recovered
    Today – 32,037 Infested / 392 Death * 178 Recovered
    32,037 / 392 – 24,796 / 293 = 7241 Infested / 99 Death Within The Last 24 Hours OMFG 7241 Infested In 24 HOURS

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  11. Let the CCP be responsible. The whole world got affected by this pandemic. If it was not for their censorship this could not gotten worse

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  12. I dare say thank you on behalf of Doctor Li, unsung heroes abound I'm sure. Here we have one which deserve praises and songs.
    While he gave his life doing the first autopsy in order to find out what is now called SARS 2.0. Before death he did sent us a clear warning.

    Most of us did not get his warning. Not our fault, we didn't friended him. Do you know who was listening? WHO who kept on telling us "nah it'll be fine" ask yourselves: incompetence or deliberate?

    I know, deliberate you say? Who can possibly profit from this situation?

    Bam, you have your answer. Please don't let the ashes of our world enslave the world of tomorrow. Centralization will come knocking when we will be hungry, please say no to all strings

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  13. China: What's all this talk about an event that didn't happen?
    US: In order to keep you safe we are removing the right to labor for some of you but not others, the right to peaceably assemble for a redress of grievances and stay away from your fellow citizens. In Connecticut pool service workers are deemed "essential" while I face a future of unemployment without any choice given to me. Crisis or tragedy the bill of rights doesn't get suspended. The company gave everyone the choice to stay home or work without penalty. Being able to keep a roof over my head is more "essential" to my health than anything else.

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  14. Um … didn’t this channel just post a video five days ago downplaying the significance of the disease? 🤨

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  15. China needs to be nuked from orbit. Trump and most western leaders need to end up in prison for incompetence leading to thousands of deaths. They knew this was coming and didnt do shit because money. They need to pay the price.

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  16. Congratulations to fans of martial law and state control. This economic slaughter (people are ruined. Right now. And forever) will kill far more than this relatively minor virus. This is not typhoid. Not out of control EBOLA. It's something that the very elderly, frail, and diseased cannot tolerate. Just as they do with the flu. We're blowing up the world over an anthill.
    And everyone cheers them on, crying out for more, more, more. The economic destruction is hellish and God knows what's ahead.

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  17. Question….so because the Chinese Govt. Restricted the info about how bad the viris is that meant that reliable information was hard to come by and validate so the lack of action by the US govt. Up to the point where it was found to be really bad should be understandable. But instead everyone blames Trump for not ordering an instant lockdown the moment the virus was found. I promise you the govt. Was likely struggling for reliable details at that point and it is stupid to act rashly without information. I don't blame trump and how he handled it at all. Once it was clear how bad it was and that quarantine was broken he did what needed to be done. You cant cut a leg off because you got a bug bite on your toe because you are scared it is a bug that could infect your whole body with some crazy insane disease. You have to figure out the true nature of the threat before acting rashly or you just waste resources and drum up panic. And when people panic, people die.

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  18. Not just the silencing of Chinese citizens after the virus began its rampage, but the lack of a free press and access to a free and uncensored internet allows for horrible farming and marketing practices to continue, as there is no public outcry or changing of consumer behavior due to knowledge of farming practices to increase safety and hygiene. If a farm in the US was treating its animals as farmers are in China, a video would show up online and the public reaction would force the farm to change or go out of business. But that doesn't exist in China. So this is going to keep happening. The Chinese people need freedom of speech, a free press and access to an uncensored internet.

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  19. I think ReasonTV is seriously lacking on information and seems to rely on 2nd hand information from media outlets. Trump formed a Wuhan Virus task force in late January. Travel from China was closed soon after. Most of the remarks Trump had at the time were the same remarks the media and the free speech you speak of was saying at the time. There was a lack of real journalism substituted with information from the propaganda the Chinese Communist Party was spreading on the illness. It took a few more weeks for more reliable sources in China to come forward in February where Trump started to take a much more drastic approach to the Virus.
    It seems like rather than listening to the original source, the creator of this piece instead got an abbreviated version from partisan media outlets and outlets being paid by the Chinese Communist Party.
    You can literally disprove some of your statements by checking the original source. February 27th, 2020 from CDC website. CDC advises Seattle to practice measures similar to social distancing due to high number of cases. Your tweet Feb 29, 2020
    The CDC didn't ban testing. They didn't provide testing which is a big difference. Their testing method was limited and was faulty early on. For a Libertarian, I find it shocking that you think the government is the only one who allows testing of an illness.

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  20. If WHO hadn't been in the pockets of the CCP, this wouldn't have gone this far. But it would seem that WHO love money more than lives. Taiwain and South Korea are doing better because they don't trust at word coming from the Chinese government (CCP) while the rest of the world is too greedy to say no to CCP cash. The Free world my ass, more like The Naive World.

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  21. "What is the cost of lies? It’s not that we will mistake them for the truth. The real danger is that, if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the truth at all. What can we do then? What else is left but to abandon even the hope of truth and content ourselves instead with stories? In these stories, it doesn’t matter who the heroes are. All we want to know is who is to blame."

    – Opening lines of Chernobyl

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  22. CCP is evil and it doesn’t care Chinese people but it’s evil authoritarian to survive. Boycott China and fight evil CCP.

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  23. When you work in an environment with lots of contact you take precautions to not catch crud. It's a good start to mitigate invection risk. You should never trust China, the story of the turtle and scorpion cones to mind. But the current scientific community has done much to discredit itself and will be quick to squander whatever trust it earns during this pandemic.

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  24. China is not the world's friend; they are a trading partner, nothing more. The sooner that America, Europe and elsewhere pull their head out of their asses and realize that their excessive regulation and taxation is partly to blame for this Beer Bug clusterfuck, the sooner we may get back some of our manufacturing.

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  25. Reason TV has forgotten that Trump issued travel bans to and from China which should have been followed strictly no matter how "racist" it was as said by the CCP and the WHO. The problem with the US is sanctuary cities and a lax border control. Look at which states have a burgeoning of those infected by the WHO-Han CCP virus. CA, WA, and NY. Liberal states who hate border control. A lot of illegal Chinese are in CA and NY and also WA. Same goes with Italy. It is just common sense when you are stricter with the Chinese, whether they are tourists, illegal workers, or those who visited their families in China. Then be strict with those who traveled to and from China (should be done in the initial stages of the outbreak). Then be strict with those who traveled abroad when it was obvious that it was becoming a pandemic. And I am speaking as someone with Chinese blood.

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  26. why you don't tell about south carolIna and wuhans researchea of combining Sars and covid in 2015-2017 ?

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  27. A lot of places don’t have censorship. And they know the virus at least two months ago. How they virus runs to a pandemic today? While the censored China have contained the virus successfully? It is non about censorship actually.

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  28. so you refuse to cover the extraordinary positive, life saving measures the trump admin has also taken?
    when you are only pushing one narrative, you are fake news Reason.
    Trump is not perfect but he's right that ppl need to calm down, symptoms are mild for most and we will get through this.
    this virus is particularly surprising in how easily it is spread and caught the entire world by surprise.
    get over your politics and trump hatred and just get through this sucky sitch.

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  29. It’s time to make China accountable for the disaster they have unleashed on the rest of the world. Put those almost useless global institutions to use by bringing the CCP Politburo before a human rights commission. Furthermore, China must be forced to repay the monetary debt they have caused nations as a result of the covering up of this virus. The whole world must unite against China and bring the CCP to its knees.

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  30. Fuck capitalism, this irrational 19th century system is going to collapse thank god. All it took was a virus to show up the fact that capitalism is trash, we are all one big human family and socialism is the ONLY system that can save the world.

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  31. The resulting pandemonium caused by government's reactionary response to COVID-19, coupled with the collapse of the economy, may do for the freedom movement what years of Tea Party rallies could not achieve.

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  32. ReasonTV has also downplayed the threat. They had a law professor on who has no experience with epidemiology whatsoever to explain that people are overreacting and that millions aren't going to die.

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  33. There’s a reason top-level planning and deliberation is kept classified, and it’s this: in these meetings, worst-case scenarios and plans a are crafted and put into place. The mass mentality is incapable of the critical thought necessary to collectively accept that worst-case scenarios are extremely unlikely. Thus, top-level COVID-19 government deliberations are kept classified and secret because if they weren’t, they would result in mass panic.

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  34. are the guys behind 1791L videos doing your video work? (the graphics, music production, etc.) they're looking so good.

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  35. China does not censor me
    When I talk shit about the evils of the CCP Mafia

    But the American government censors me here in YouTube comments
    When I talk 9-11, ISIS, Epstein, Dr. Boyle saying virus is from Fort Detrick

    Will this comment be censored too ?

    I take screen shots
    for my Archive of Censorship
    So far, I have way over 1,000 of my
    YouTube comments that were censored

    I am Canadian
    America silences me
    China does not silence me

    Weird, huh ?

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  36. Not mentioning Styxhexenhammer? He covered consistently Wuhan Virus as early as January, warning people take measures and prepare.

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  37. And while all of this was going on, President Trump's impeachment proceedings, (which began by the Trump hating Democrats on Sept 24, 2019), pushed forward. Right thru to February 5, 2020, when the Senate acquitted. Democrat priorities ya know.

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  38. I hope five to ten years fron now the Communist Party of China will disappear in this world like magic! Dont let them destroy the world!

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  39. Wtf? Really disappointed in ReasonTV… thought they were above such simplistic mainstream narrative BS

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  40. 5:00 Nope. No longer. To get a test here in colorado, you MUST be over 65 showing SEVERE symptoms. Other than that no test for anybody, it's running around and nobody knows how many cases there actually are.

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  41. Anti-Chinese lies after lies after lies. American nationalistic media have brainwashed their people , it's unbelivable. There was no censorship. If you actually read Chinese news you would see that they were conducting invetigation to study the virus, that took 2 weeks, after that, they awarmed the WHO. America sat and watched China for 2 months and didn't do nothing. You think if they awarmed the world 2 weeks ahead they would've done ssomething? China has procesures just like any other nation has. You are all anti-Chinese mindless morons.

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  42. Oh, come on. It’s just that China (and every other country that embraces socialism and communism) are doing it wrong. If they’d do communism right unicorns would appear and peace and harmony and love would rule. We’d all never work again and happiness and joy would fill not only our tummies but also our gas tanks and heat our homes!!! **Sigh** Imagine!!!!

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  43. oh guys when the fuck will you understand that every single one of you no matter where you come from is completely disposable and just another number int they eyes of your country.

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  44. and we have to thank Tucker Carlson for getting through to the president at Kimberly Guilfoyle's birthday on how serious the coronavirus actually is!

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  45. Strange how censorship doesn't seem to stop the virus… 😉
    I'm worried that local and regional shutdowns, curfews, and martial law may do more harm than the virus itself will.

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  46. Communists cannot tell anyone the truth, not even to themselves. The Chinese communists have lost all face. Shame is their legacy.

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  47. No it won't the same idiots are in charge over here, the news networks and the Democrat Party. They want the panic. If sane people were in charge it never would have started. The Wuhan Virus had 6 months of travel time. At this point Covid-19 is every where in the world pretty much, expect North Sentinel Island.

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  48. The CDC and WHO screwed up and show the dangers of Bureaucracies and Red Tape. The media does massively over-hype it after they blew it off initially too

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  49. Thank god Obama isn't in charge. He prosecuted reporters. Trump beat the rest of the west with shutting down air travel. Its not perfect, and the federal government is a big antiquated beast. This is america we will get it done.

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  50. Nothing about natural cures for the CCP Virus. Lots of correctly placed blame for events of the past. But nothing about natural solutions for the future – Vitamins C & D3 and apple cider vinegar. Instead all we get are media coupled with drugs and antibiotics.

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  51. wow 2:55 way to go being like the lying leftist media with that editing.

    Trump removed the regulations that were causing the slow response times.

    The USA is a red tape nightmare, with stupid federal, state, county, and city regulations that stifle innovation, growth, and start-up.

    John Stossel has a video showing how just to to set up a table to sell shirts in Los Angeles, it would take 2 months or more for the permit (and the cost), but in South Korea, it just takes 2 weeks, and a relatively paltry sum of money.

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  52. Great video about free speech but reason seems to have bought into some of the lies being told about Trump.
    He says it was a hoax
    No, he said the media was exaggerating for political purposes to make him look bad and that was their hoax. He doesn't refer to the coronavirus as a hoax at all. It was a media hoax but it was the hoax that we needed to respond to this serious problem.

    Trump downplays by saying something about 15 people soon becoming zero.
    Okay that seems legit. He fucked up and also made false statements about insurance coverage and covid19. In another rally he said no "one has died" but then followed up saying that doesn't mean they still can't. You can guess what the political opponents zeroed in on.

    He says he doesn't take responsibility.
    He shouldn't. Not for CDC procedures that have been in place since before his administration. Maybe they should ask Fauci about that.

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  53. Why Blame Trump for everything… Crazy was he not the first to stop flights from China? Be a solution not the problem… Life's are at stake… Stop the Hate…. What about Open Borders… ?Trump was a racist???? moving Hate Targets… I don't even like him but my God.. Enough already…

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  54. Doom and gloom sells. It always does. And it always will. At least in free countries. However, it will almost always be wrong. Eventually, the corona virus death rate will be shown to be very close to the death rate of seasonal flu.

    One good thing about the current hysteria is that AOC's claim that the earth will die in a decade are no longer front page news.

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  55. I wouldn't doubt Nathan Rich is going to make a response video about how America spread the coronavirus and somehow the US has more censorship.

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  56. Does not look good for the Party. CCP has made Chinese people look very bad in the World's view.

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  57. Funny you cut when the President says WHAT THE HOAX WAS… HE SAID THE DEMOCRATS POLITICIZING IT WAS THE HOAX…. Typical selective reporting. Trump stopped travel from China early on and was called a xenophobe. This is said to have slowed the spread .typical selective reporting

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