September 26, 2020

Media Outlets Are Revisiting And Revising Their Old Reporting On The Coronavirus


Media outlets are being forced to revisit and update old stories and tweets about the novel coronavirus that have now been deemed fake news.

Outlets like Vox and Buzzfeed downplayed the virus during its early stages in January. These outlets recently scrambled to fix their false reporting, which essentially suggested that Americans should not be worried about the now-global pandemic.

“Don’t Worry About The Coronavirus. Worry About The Flu,” a Jan. 28 article from Buzzfeed was originally titled. The publication re-visited this article and edited it on March 16, adding an “update” that “we have decided to change the headline in order to reflect our current understanding of the pandemic.”

“Here’s What We Do And Don’t Know About The Deadly Coronavirus Outbreak,” Buzzfeed’s article is now headlined.

Don’t worry about the coronavirus. Worry about the flu.

— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) January 29, 2020

“Update: This story was originally published with a different headline comparing the effect of the coronavirus outbreak in the US to the flu,” a note at the top of the January article reads. “The headline, and the story, was based on information available in late January. Because the story is still being widely shared, we have decided to change the headline in order to reflect our current understanding of the pandemic.”

Vox tweeted about the novel coronavirus on Jan. 31, writing that it would not become a deadly pandemic. The publication deleted this tweet March 24 after realizing that it “no longer reflects the current reality of the coronavirus story.”

“It this going to be a deadly pandemic? No,” the original Vox tweet read. (RELATED: MSNBC Retracts Tweet Claiming Host Chris Hayes Said Coronavirus Could Kill Half Of The Population)

… ouch

— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) March 24, 2020

Meanwhile, the New York Times quietly edited its ever-updating coronavirus map headline. The original headline referred to the novel coronavirus as the “Wuhan Coronavirus.” This global pandemic began in Wuhan, China, and many media pundits first referred to it as such.

President Donald Trump has referred to the novel coronavirus as the “Wuhan Virus” and the “China Virus” as well. The NYT changed its headline from the “Wuhan Coronavirus Map” to the “Coronavirus Map” after the media began to accuse the president of xenophobia over the term.

The @nytimes originally labeled its interactive map the “Wuhan Coronavirus Map.” It is now just the “Coronavirus Map.”

— Jeryl Bier (@JerylBier) March 13, 2020

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Shelby Talcott