Democrats have upped their attacks on members of the GOP for using what they consider offensive and “bigoted” terminology to reference the novel coronavirus but have seemingly ignored the several occasions establishment media outlets have used the same phrases.
As concerns over the novel coronavirus continue to unravel, Democrats have been ramping up attacks on individuals whom they claim are using “bigoted” and “racist” phrases to refer to the illness. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), for instance, recently demanded an apology from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who referred to the illness as the “Chinese coronavirus.”
“Bigoted statements which spread misinformation and blame Asians and the Asian American community for #coronavirus make us all less safe. @GOPLeader must delete this tweet and apologize immediately,” she said in a tweet, which was retweeted by prominent progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY):
Bigoted statements which spread misinformation and blame Asians and the Asian American community for #coronavirus make us all less safe. @GOPLeader must delete this tweet and apologize immediately. pic.twitter.com/twzCcVAWDH
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) March 10, 2020
Other notable progressives blasted what they consider offensive descriptions of the virus, with some, such as Democratic Coalition co-founder Scott Dworkin, calling McCarthy a “racist”:
If you label the coronavirus as a “Chinese” coronavirus, you are a racist. It’s that simple. Stop playing politics with the coronavirus. You’re not gonna rebrand it, you’re not gonna use it for your BS propaganda and you sure as hell aren’t fooling anyone. @GOPLeader is a racist. https://t.co/51NoFFsTKm
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) March 10, 2020
Even MSNBC’s Chris Hayes needled Rep. Paul Gosar (D-AZ) for referring to the illness as the “Wuhan virus,” calling the descriptor “astoundingly gross”:
Just astoundingly gross to call it the Wuhan Virus. https://t.co/cMrsA59xTH
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) March 9, 2020
The Democrats’ newfound outrage over members of the GOP using what they consider problematic descriptions of the virus ignore the well-documented history of establishment media outlets using the phrases “Chinese Coronavirus,” “Chinese Virus,” “China Coronavirus, the “Wuhan Virus,” and “Wuhan Coronavirus” on several occasions.
The Washington Post:
The Los Angeles Times:
McCarthy responded to his critics, providing a handful of screenshots of various news outlets using similar phrases.
“Coronavirus is a China-born disease—made worse by a Communist Party that rejected America’s help to contain it,” he said. “Which is why Dems & media called it “Chinese coronavirus” for weeks”:
Here we go again.→ Democrats are trying to score political points by calling Republicans racist.
Coronavirus is a China-born disease—made worse by a Communist Party that rejected America's help to contain it.
Which is why Dems & media called it "Chinese coronavirus" for weeks. pic.twitter.com/Km1rdn1R47
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) March 11, 2020
Critics also point out that associating viruses with their place of origin is a long-held practice.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus a global “pandemic” on Wednesday:
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) March 11, 2020
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the organization is “deeply concerned by the alarming levels of spread and severity.”
“We have, therefore, made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic,” Ghebreyesus stated.