Citing China’s Case Numbers Without Context, ‘A Disservice to the People:’ Media Expert

Miguel Moreno
By Miguel Moreno
April 4, 2020COVID-19

As of April 4, data from Johns Hopkins University says the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the United States and several other countries have surpassed China’s.

That has made for dramatic headlines, but often, some much needed context about the regime and its under-reporting of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus is left out by several media outlets.

This week, for example, China’s National Health Commission essentially admitted to hiding its total number of positive cases, when it said it would begin disclosing the number of asymptomatic cases.

“If we’re just looking at official numbers that we don’t often know if we’re going to get the truth from, I think that we’re really doing a disservice to the people because it’s important to understand the broader picture of the story,” said media professor Andrew Selepak from University of Florida.

Paramilitary police officer
Paramilitary police officers stand in front of the Great Hall of the People during the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on March 5, 2017. (Fred Dufour/AFP via Getty Images)

“Too often, it’s just easy to report some numbers that come out of a source that we generally trust without really going into depth and detail, and then giving a broader scope of what this really means,” Selepak said.

President Donald Trump and other U.S. officials have publicly expressed doubt over China’s figures.

Sen. Marco Rubio also condemned the media for reporting that the United States has surpassed China in its number of positive cases, calling it “bad journalism.” He said that in reality, the world has “no idea how many cases China really has.”

Besides hiding its number of asymptomatic cases, official Chinese documents obtained by The Epoch Times show gross under-reporting of positive cases.

Selepak said people need that extra depth. Otherwise, they may not take the virus as seriously as they should, because the numbers are likely much worse than what is shown.

“I think a lot of the reason why there’s been some people who have not taken the coronavirus here in the United states as serious as it should be is because some of the under-reporting of numbers,” he said. “Because there’s this sort of assumption that it might not be that dangerous.”

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