NEWS & ANALYSIS

To Tell the Truth: New York Times Seeks to Create Division in Reporting New Mask Guidance

Cherry-Picks Quotes & Anecdotes to Create Sense of Mistrust


To Tell the Truth is Human Events News’ press analysis series. These stories will focus on “news” being reported by either The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC News, NBC News, or CBS News. Despite 24-hour cable broadcasts, and an untold number of internet sources, these established, mainstream platforms continue to influence the majority of American citizens and their political opinions.

The “news” generated by these press outlets is better regarded as “opinion” crafted in a way designed to discourage skepticism and critical thought on the part of the audience. To Tell the Truth will be Human Events News’ periodic effort to help address this bias and restore the skepticism necessary on the part of all Americans to maintain a free society.

After the CDC issued new guidance encouraging vaccinated Americans to return to maskless life, many are beginning to experience a unified feeling of relief in the face of a potential collective return to pre-pandemic norms. But the New York Times is making every attempt to nip that harmony in the bud, calling the long-awaited return to normal life as “the latest honor code” and emphasizing to readers the risk in trusting their neighbors.

In a Tuesday piece titled “New Honor System on Masks: ‘Am I to Trust These People?’” the Times made an transparent attempt to capitalize on the unease felt by Americans over the past year, and to make sure that such unease doesn’t go anywhere.

“New coronavirus mask guidelines from the C.D.C. have left Americans wondering whether they can trust one another. And it’s been a challenging year for trust,” reads the piece before going on to tell the story of Tori Saylor, “who is vaccinated,” but wears a mask anyway and “confronted her first real test of the new era” when the doors to her apartment building elevator “opened to reveal people who were not wearing masks, and twice, she let the elevator go.”

“’Am I to trust these people, having never met them?’ said Ms. Saylor, who has multiple sclerosis and gets an infusion therapy that compromises her immune system. Despite her vaccination status, it is unclear whether her body will be able to effectively produce antibodies to fight off Covid-19. ‘How can I judge whether someone is vaccinated by making momentary eye contact with them?’”

“For many Americans, trust is in short supply after a year of a long pandemic and the conflicts that have come with it,” the piece goes on, before reminding readers of the “fibs” and “omissions” that their fellow countrymen have made throughout the course of the pandemic.

“Did every person who drove across a state line follow 14-day quarantine rules? Did everyone who got an early vaccine fit the eligibility rules at the time?”

The Times frames this sort of paranoia as rational, because “pandemic-era wrongdoing has been rampant,” supposedly — citing fraudulently obtained CARES Act funds and students cheating on exams during remote learning.

The piece cites also distrust in the government as a case against following guidance to remove masks — as if people aren’t wearing them due to government guidance in the first place.

To offer some credibility to the paranoia, the Times consulted the nation’s largest nurses’ union:

“’We couldn’t even trust people to do the right thing and wear masks when it was rampant, when it was the highest it’s ever been,’ said Deborah Burger, a president of National Nurses United, who described nurses rushing to the grocery store in their uniforms only to be berated by fellow shoppers. ‘People were accosting them, accusing them of lying about the pandemic.’

National Nurses United, the nation’s largest union of registered nurses, has come out publicly against the new C.D.C. guidelines on masks, which were announced last week and left state and local government officials, business owners and ordinary people scrambling. The guidelines allowing vaccinated people to go without masks do not apply to hospitals, but Ms. Burger said the changes create confusion and put the burden on health care workers to enforce face coverings.

‘It feels like somebody has pulled the rug out from under us and taken away our protections,’ she said.

The Times also quoted Rebecca Johnson, of Winfield, Ill., who “is among those who will not be taking off her mask indoors in public any time soon.”

“I still think when you walk indoors you have to look at every person that you’re around, thinking they could have it,” she said.

The piece made sure to fit in an anti-conservative angle, noting that “Many Republicans, by contrast, have emphasized their individual liberties on virus decisions from the beginning and may welcome the freedom that comes with the new guidance,” and casting conservatives as worthy of the distrust depicted throughout the article.

“At the same time, people who identify as conservative are less likely to be vaccinated, whether because of skepticism about the safety of a fast-tracked vaccine, or a belief that the coronavirus itself is not very dangerous. In recent polls by Monmouth University and Quinnipiac University, almost half of Republicans surveyed said they did not plan to pursue vaccinations.”

To tell the Truth: This “news article” from America’s supposed paper of record is a blatant attempt to turn Americans against one another — and a telling revelation at how fearful the news media is that American’ may start to treat one another with some ounce of respect again. The concept of an “honor system” is one that has the potential to be healing for America, which could be detrimental to the agenda — and the pocketbooks — of American news media giants.