VOX: What went wrong with the media’s coronavirus coverage?

The purpose for sharing this article is not political, but is instead focused on encouraging all of us [ subject matter experts and lay leaders alike ] to remember that there is still a lot that we must all learn together going forward as we address COVID-19.  Listed below are excerpts from the article published by Vox/Recode entitled ”  What went wrong with the media’s coronavirus coverage?” written by Peter Kafka.   Essentially both the previously mention article and an article published by The Atlantic entitled “It Wasn’t  Just Trump Who Got it Wrong” feature a very interesting and relevant discussion about how information about COVID 19 is being gathered, shared, digested, synthesized and acted upon.


The coronavirus pandemic has crippled America. So far, the virus has killed more than 20,000 people in the United States and has sickened more than 500,000 people.  It’s clear now that the US government was woefully unprepared for the pandemic, and that’s been reflected in its messaging to the public since the start.

Much of the mainstream media amplified this slow and muddled reaction to the rapidly spreading virus. Since alarming reports about Covid-19 began to emerge from China in January, the media often provided information to Americans that later proved to be wrong, or at least inadequate. For instance: While President Trump has been correctly pilloried for describing the coronavirus as less dangerous than the flu, that message was commonplace in mainstream media outlets throughout February. And journalists — including my colleagues at Vox — were dutifully repeating exhortations from public health officials not to wear masks for much of 2020.

The problem, in many cases, was that that information was wrong, or at least incomplete. Which raises the hard question for journalists scrutinizing our performance in recent months: How do we cover a story where neither we nor the experts we turn to know what isn’t yet known? And how do we warn Americans about the full range of potential risks in the world without ringing alarm bells so constantly that they’ll tune us out?

And given that the Covid-19 coronavirus is brand new, even the best-meaning experts and institutions gave conflicting information, some of which now has proven to be inaccurate or up for debate. That includes National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci, who is now the most trusted official in the federal government when it comes to the Covid-19 response, but as late as February was calling the risk from coronavirus “minuscule” and warning people to worry instead about “influenza outbreak, which is having its second wave.”