It is no secret that President Donald Trump, like all politicians, will occasionally fudge the numbers a bit to make a point, with administration officials often swooping in later to provide a bit of supportive context and clarification.
However, after Trump claimed on July 4 that 99% of coronavirus cases were “harmless,” the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) went so far as to distance himself from the comment, according to the Washington Examiner.
Rounding up for effect
The mainstream media establishment is always keen to interpret everything President Trump says in a very literal fashion.
So when 4.8 million new jobs are created, and Trump calls it 5 million, the mainstream media can say he failed a fact check.
When Trump suggested that 99% of coronavirus cases are harmless, most people engaging their common sense got the point, while clearly understanding that he was not attempting to cite a statistical fact.
Journalists, however, jumped all over his claim and even challenged FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn on its accuracy, who, according to the Examiner, responded, “I’m not going to get into who’s right and who is wrong.”
“I’m not going to get into who’s right and who is wrong,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn says when pressed about the misleading claim President Trump made — that 99% of coronavirus cases in America are “totally harmless.” https://t.co/W6TLmb2Uvs #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/WpJmQRdGVQ
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) July 5, 2020
Right idea, wrong words
In reality, the concept President Trump was trying to convey was a valid one, but as this episode reveals, anything short of pinpoint numerical accuracy on this and any other issue will attract media scorn.
Dr. Hahn perhaps could have provided some figures of his own, even if doing so would have contradicted Trump’s 99% assertion.
He could have followed up by saying that by and large, most of those who contract the coronavirus do indeed recover fully.
The bottom line is that President Trump will have to be more careful when using numerical units to illustrate broader points, given that the mainstream outlets will give him no leeway whatsoever.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden is free to fabricate statistics out of thin air, and nary a critical word is spoken.