Sunday, May 24, 2020


The front page of today's New York Times is a list of those who've died from the coronavirus.

This is a stark reminder of the pain and suffering of the last couple of months. It's very moving -- but I bet there aren't many tears being shed in certain precincts of the right.

I assume that several conservative media outlets have given young staffers an assignment: discredit this list. Those staffers will be asked to go over the list of names with a fine-toothed comb, looking for anyone whose death might be attributable to something other than the virus. Maybe the "debunkings" won't appear in "respectable" right-wing publications, but they'll show up on the sleazier sites, and they'll worm their way into social media. Right-wingers will go on telling themselves, and the rest of us, that the pandemic is fale news and the virus is no worse than the flu.

We know that 100,000 is an undercount -- public health authorities haven't caught up with everyone who's died of the virus. We know that the elderly and frail can spend years with relatively stable health, which means that when they contract the virus and lose their lives, the virus was the reason. We know that even if an error or two made their way onto the Times list, it was an important effort to make the crisis real and to put it in human terms.

But I predict that right-wingers will try to turn it into fake news.


UPDATE: I've learned from the comments that someone has already found a name on the Times list that appeared in error.

Crimmins appears to be a grad student in history at the University of Chicago.

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