It's the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. It was a day that shook the nation, and the world, in a profoundly painful way that woke many up to the reality of our vulnerabilities. And on this solemn day there have been some respectful remembrances and thoughtful condolences for the victims, their families, and for the first responders who sacrificed so much.
Of course, there have also been some grossly inappropriate attempts to hijack this day for political and/or personal advantage. Donald Trump was notorious for that when he bragged on the day of the tragedy that his building in Manhattan had just become the tallest in the city:
It should come as no surprise that Fox News joined in on the brazen exploitation of horror. On Friday morning the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends aired a segment that drew a preposterous comparison between 9/11 and the coronavirus pandemic. Co-host Brian Kilmeade unleashed this nauseating rant (video below) that had no basis in reality or even sanity. “New York is attacked,” Kilmeade began. “America is under siege.” And he continued…
“But at the same time, New York kept moving. In a very short time the stock market was open. People were still getting into subways. People still went to work. At the same time keeping an ear to the news to find out what's next as we would mobilize in a matter of months and kill almost every single person that was involved in this. The first generation of Al Qaeda.”
“That's what's different now. This, we stopped. And America looked around and go 'What do we do?' We knew who the enemy was then. Here we've got this invisible virus that the Chinese are responsible for, but it doesn't look like that's an attack. ”
Kilmeade is earning his reputation for being the stupidest man on Fox News. He apparently doesn't realize that people were comfortable returning to the subways after 9/11 because they were in no danger of contracting an airplane crash from another passenger. Their coworkers were unlikely to infect them with a collapsing skyscraper.
Kilmeade is likewise unaware that the reason we “stopped” this time is because COVID-19 is a highly transmissible infectious agent for which there is no vaccine or treatment. His attempt to draw parallels between these two events is simply pathetic, but not at all unexpected from Fox News.
In addition to his absurd correlations and xenophobic insults aimed at China, Kilmeade also made some blatantly false statements. While America was attacked, we were not under siege. There was no invading army and no subsequent assault. The stock markets remained closed until September 17, the longest shutdown since 1933, which Kilmeade characterized as “short.” We did retaliate against the Taliban that was harboring Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. However, we did not kill “every single person that was involved.” Al Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden, wasn't killed until ten years later.
Finally, Kilmeade's description of Americans looking around wondering what to do utterly fails to explain why that's so. It's because we have a president who lied to the people about the peril this virus posed. Trump knew how deadly it was and purposefully withheld that information in order to advance his reelection prospects. He repeatedly downplayed the danger, oversold the development of a vaccine, and mocked those who advised and practiced safety guidelines such as social distancing and facial masks.
Trump also contradicted the experts and disseminated falsehoods about unproven cures such as hydroxychloroquine and injecting bleach. Even worse, he embraced quacks who ranted about “demon sperm” and spread crackpot conspiracy theories that only a fraction of those reported to have died from COVID-19 were actually its victims.
Is there any wonder why some Americans were baffled about what to do? Even now there are those who believe that the coronavirus is (as Trump has said) a hoax. Never mind the nearly 200,000 graves (6,400,000+ infected) and the grieving families and friends of those stricken. The confusion that Kilmeade referenced is almost entirely the fault of Trump. The remainder of the guilt lies with Kilmeade, and his confederates at Fox News, who continue to cover for him.
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