Op-Ed from the Hill….
The coronavirus is a hard habit for the media to break — and that’s pushing other dangers off-stage and out of sight.
As the country marked one year since the attack on the Capitol, most mainstream news outlets last week still made their central focus COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. Every twist and turn in the pandemic continues to gobble up resources and dominate headlines at the expense of stories that are just as urgent.
Like threats to American democracy.
The COVID-19 crisis has shifted, but the extent and tone of media coverage has not. Over-heated language in print and on cable demands readers and viewers treat the epidemic as if it were 18 months ago — before vaccines, boosters and a new, less-deadly strain.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical advisor, placed greater importance this past week not on the raw number of Omicron cases but on hospitalizations. Thanks in part to the vaccine distribution effort, that number has been significantly lower as a percentage of the infected than earlier variants. Other public health experts agreed.
In a speech on Tuesday, Biden called Omicron a reason for “concern” but not “alarm.” He once again noted that, by and large, only the unvaccinated face the most severe outcomes.
There are certainly credible and honest ways to answer that question with either a “yes” or a “no.” (Psaki kind of did both.) But it’s also worth admitting that journalism has, in its own way, lost control of the narrative — by sticking with the same script for too long….