During a news conference Wednesday, Dr. Bruce Dart, the director of the Tulsa Health Department, suggested that large gatherings in the county within the past few weeks — such as President Donald Trump’s rally and protests — “more than likely contributed” to the recent spike in coronavirus cases in Tulsa County, Oklahoma.
After the county reported a record-high 261 new cases on Monday and 206 on Tuesday, Dart said it was sensible to assume that the large gatherings had something to do with it.
“Are we starting to see connections to the Trump rally or other protests?'” Dart said to reiterate a reporter’s question. “The past two days we’ve had almost 500 cases, and we know we had several large events a little over two weeks ago, which is about right, so I guess we just connect the dots.”
A little earlier in the news conference, Dart acknowledged that Tulsa County was reporting the highest number of cases in the state and added that “we’ve had some significant events in the past few weeks that more than likely contributed to that.”
You can watch Dart’s remarks below beginning at the 30-minute mark:
Selective media coverage
Despite Dart’s clear mention of events, plural, that may have contributed to the spike, several major news outlets elected to report solely on the Trump rally. Here’s a rundown of some of the headlines:
- Coronavirus Surge in Tulsa ‘More Than Likely’ Linked to Trump Rally – the New York Times
- Health official: Trump rally ‘likely’ source of virus surge – Associated Press
- Tulsa sees Covid-19 surge in the wake of Trump’s June rally – CNN
- Tulsa Health Official Says Trump Rally ‘Likely Contributed’ to Surge in COVID-19 Cases – Time
- Trump Rally Likely Fueled Virus Cases, Tulsa Official Says – Bloomberg
- Tulsa health official says Trump rally ‘likely contributed’ to spike in coronavirus cases – CBS News
- Trump rally likely contributed to surge in COVID-19 cases, Tulsa health official says – ABC News
While it is true that Dart specifically cited the June 20 Trump rally as a likely contributing factor, he also made reference to “other protests” and “several large events,” which would include the Black Lives Matter demonstrations that occurred in the city in mid-June, as well.
A day before the president came to town, “more than a thousand people gathered along Greenwood Avenue” in Tulsa to celebrate Juneteenth, the New York Times reported. Then on the day of the rally, separate Black Lives Matter protests were held outside the venue that Trump was set to speak at.
CBS News even reported that while the majority of interactions were civil, “little-to-no social distancing was” being practiced between BLM protesters and Trump supporters.
Yet most major news outlets, save the Washington Post, make no mention of these “other protests” in their headlines.
It is this type of selective reporting that causes many Americans to distrust the media.