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Left’s response to Trump exhibits desire for fear

Joy Pullmann of the Federalist highlights the political Left’s response to the latest developments in President Trump’s bout with COVID-19.

In a Monday tweet celebrating his release from the hospital after testing positive for COVID-19, President Trump wrote: “Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!” …

… The response to this tweet was characteristically unhinged in a way that speaks to the primary motivator of corporate media coverage of the virus: fear. …

… Just substitute any other malady that has killed many people and see if the responses make any rational or charitable sense. Trump: “Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of cancer!! Don’t let it dominate your life.” Or: “Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of AIDS!! Don’t let it dominate your life.”

Trump’s statement is the stuff of inspirational books written by athletes or motivational speakers or celebrities who encountered a serious health concern. Only because he’s Trump is he treated this way. …

… In his discussion of Trump’s celebratory hospital-release tweet, Wolf Blitzer made the message explicit: “Everyone should be afraid of COVID.”

First of all, this stance is factually questionable. Being afraid of COVID does not kill or retard it. Taking reasonable and prudent measures does. One does not need to be afraid to oppose coronavirus. In fact, excessive fear will cripple the critical thinking necessary for responding appropriately to this threat.

And that is the subtext at play here. The subtext is that if people simply follow their reason, and pay close attention to the objective facts about COVID-19, perhaps they would make different choices than when scared out of their minds about it. So we can’t have people prudent about COVID, or rational about COVID, or thoughtful, or courageous about COVID. That does not produce the social outcomes that these people want. Being scared of COVID does.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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