How China Get Portrayed in Coronavirus News Coverage

By Megan Xu

Quarantine Life – Mengjia Xu

I was on my way to the supermarket, wearing a N95 and gloves.

Background

Currently there is an outbreak of a novel coronavirus infection, and people are getting nervous about this virus. Novel coronavirus is concerning because no humans have immunity to it, and it's not the same as SARS. It's a virus that mainly affects our respiratory system, so mostly our lungs and air pipes, the danger is the disease passing from humans to humans.. It is a new strain that most likely developed from an animal in Wuhan, which then passed to humans. Prior to last night, the coronavirus had reached its 3,249,022 confirmed case in the United States, causing a total of 230,804 deaths.

Five News Outlets

I will do a comparative study on five news outlets about how they covered coronavirus: CNN, AP, The New York Times, NPR and Live Science. 

First of all, a brief introduction on each of the media outlets. CNN ranked third in viewership in 2019, averaging 972,000 viewers. Globally, CNN International is seen over 212 countries and territories. The network is known for its dramatic live coverage of breaking news, some of which has drawn criticism as overly sensationalistic, and for its efforts to be nonpartisan, which have led to accusations of false balance.

Live Science on the other hand, is a science news website run by Future via Purch. It focuses on covering scientific breakthroughs, stories with scientific facts and odd facts from around the world in an online newsmagazine format.

Social Distancing – Mengjia Xu

Social distancing notice is posted in the County Market.

How They Covered Virus?

To this day, people are getting increasingly curious about where coronavirus originated. Though there's no certain answers, multiple conspiracy theories have widely circulated on the internet. President Trump believes China intentionally handled the coronavirus pandemic in a way to make him lose his re-election bid. He even accused the World Health Organization of being a 'pipe organ' for China. With blame on China rolls up, AP published an article with the title 'Trump harshly blames China for pandemic; a lab 'mistake'?' Similarly, CNN wrote the title 'Trump administration draws up plans to punish China over coronavirus outbreak.' While The New York Times takes the stance that the overwhelming probability of coronavirus is that it leapt from animal to human in a non-laboratory setting. The Guardian also referred to The New York Times and says intelligence agencies are forced to link coronavirus to Chinese labs under Trump's pressure. Life Science on the other hand reveals the science and rationale behind why there’s no way coronavirus originated in Wuhan's lab. 

This is a situation that's changing all the time, and media outlets are already polarized by taking different stances. Journalists are biased in a way of choosing whose opinion they decide to write on, Trump's? Or the U.S. intelligence agencies'?

Change Over Time 

The conspiracy theories will continue to grow until the real reason behind COVID-19 being found out. Some say it’s China's fault, while others claim people could have died of coronavirus early on, but mistaken it as flu. Until then, each party will argue its stance to the death.

What Does It All Mean?

Because mass media are publicizing Trump's criticism of China, racism and fear against Chinese people are now spreading along with the coronavirus. It's unwarranted and hateful. Joe Biden also released a video to assail Trump for not doing enough to push China to reveal its 'secret'. Before any official conclusion of COVID-19's origin being made, President Trump shouldn’t blame China for the pandemic, using it as a political weapon to intensify battle with China.

Fridge – Mengjia Xu

My fridge is full of frozen food.

What's Next?

Misinformation is what needs hype amongst people. As students in the community, through all our social networking channels, we should strive to make sure that the misinformation is not being spread. As long as you are limiting the spread of misinformation and rumors, that is a good service for the community.

There's a lot of misinformation, and there's a lot of conspiracy theories going on on the internet. So if we are making sure people are using the right resources, like the CDC or the WHO for information, it would be the best way to improve the image of what's going on. 

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