CNN anchor Chris Cuomo inappropriately participated in conference calls with his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), and the governor’s staff, giving advice on how the governor should respond to multiple allegations of sexual harassment levied by several women earlier this year, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
CNN admitted in a statement that Cuomo, one of the network’s leading anchors, participated in the strategy calls with the New York governor’s top advisers and said it was wrong for him to do so.
“Chris has not been involved in CNN’s extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo — on air or behind the scenes,” the network told the Post. “In part because, as he has said on his show, he could never be objective. But also because he often serves as a sounding board for his brother.
“However, it was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges,” the statement added. “He will not participate in such conversations going forward.”
While anchoring his nightly news program on CNN, Cuomo “joined a series of conference calls that included the Democratic governor’s top aide, his communications team, lawyers and a number of outside advisers,” according to anonymous sources who spoke to the Post.
The calls happened earlier this year as scandal erupted around the governor, who is accused of non-consensual touching or making unwanted sexual advances towards aides who worked in his office and other women.
The governor vehemently denied the allegations against him and has resisted calls to resign from Democratic lawmakers and lashed out at his opponents, vowing not to bow to “cancel culture.” He said he apologizes if he unintentionally made some women feel uncomfortable, but denies that “feeling uncomfortable” is equivalent to sexual harassment. A 2019 law Cuomo signed defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome verbal or physical behavior based on a person’s gender.”
At least part of the governor’s defiant response seems to be a strategy suggested by his younger brother, the cable news anchor.
Chris Cuomo reportedly “encouraged his brother to take a defiant position and not to resign from the governor’s office,” the Post reported. “At one point, he used the phrase ‘cancel culture’ as a reason to hold firm in the face of the allegations, two people present on one call said.”
CNN, which has happily provided a propaganda platform for the New York governor on “Cuomo Prime Time,” said their anchor Cuomo will not face disciplinary action for this violation of journalistic norms.
Video game and entertainment media outlets IGN and Game Informer published and then retracted articles encouraging readers to donate to charities for the Palestinian civilians caught in the crossfire of the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
On May 14, IGN posted an article titled, “How to Help Palestine,” which provided links to five charities and organizations that provide humanitarian relief to Palestinian civilians living in the West Bank and Gaza. The article featured a graphic of the Palestinian flag in IGN’s masthead.
“Palestinian civilians are currently suffering in great numbers in Jerusalem, Gaza, and West Bank, due to the active Israel-Palestine conflict,” IGN staff wrote. “The NYTimes reported that most of the deaths so far have occurred in Gaza. Below are charities and organizations on the ground in those areas where you can donate funds to help those most in need. We will continue to update this article with other ways you can help.”
Game Informer staff published a similar article on May 15, citing the IGN post and linking to the same charities. Several top gaming outlets posted their own pro-Palestine stories, following IGN’s lead.
But on Monday, the IGN and Game Informer articles were taken down. IGN released a statement about the removal, apologizing for appearing to take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“We have a track record of supporting humanitarian efforts and charities across the globe. In the instance of our recent post regarding how to help civilians in the Israel-Palestinian Conflict, our philanthropic instincts to help those in need was not in-line with our intent of trying to show support for all people impacted by tragic events,” IGN said.
“By highlighting only one population, the post mistakenly left the impression that we were politically aligned with one side. That was not our intention and we sincerely regret the error.”
Game Informer has not yet released a public statement on why its article was taken down.
Kotaku reported that after the IGN article went live, IGN Israel shared a statement on its social media accounts condemning the U.S. IGN article and social media posts supporting Palestinian charities as “misleading.”
“We at IGN Israel support the State of Israel (obviously) and support IDF soldiers who do everything to keep us all in these tough days,” IGN Israel stated. “We work in every way possible to remove this misleading and offensive content from the American edition which does not represent our views.”
That post by IGN Israel has since been deleted.
Reacting on social media, various game industry journalists and media figures were critical of the decision and speculated that IGN’s Palestinian-sympathetic editorial staff was under orders from the website’s corporate owners to take down the post.
Understand how important this is: clearly @IGN and @gameinformer editorial posted this under their editorial freedo… https://t.co/9yn12G25mb
Israeli-Palestinian fighting began again after weeks of tensions boiled over into violence when Israel’s Supreme Court approved the evictions of six Palestinian families from a neighborhood in East Jerusalem to make way for Israeli settlers. On May 7, Israeli police were deployed to the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, where conflict with Palestinian worshippers there led to rocket strikes on Israel by Hamas and retaliation by Israeli Defense Forces.
President Joe Biden on Sunday spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, raising concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza amid the ongoing violence. Palestinian health officials claim at least 140 civilians, including dozens of children, have been killed by Israeli airstrikes, while nine people, including two children, were killed by Hamas rockets in Israel.
More than 25 Democratic senators, led by Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) have called for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Palestine to “prevent further loss of life and further escalation of violence.”
New York Times columnist David Brooks earned a second salary from a think tank he promoted in his columns without disclosing the relationship to readers, according to a report.
According to BuzzFeed News, Brooks was earning a second salary for his work on Weave: The Social Fabric Project, a project of the Aspen Institute that he founded and serves as the executive director for. The Aspen Institute is a prominent think tank in Washington, D.C. Brooks has been a paid contributor to the New York Times since 2003.
In 2018, the Weave project reportedly received funding from Facebook and though Brooks has written about Facebook in several of his columns, he has never disclosed the financial relationship he shares with the social network.
From BuzzFeed News:
In Dec. 2018, Facebook earmarked a $250,000 gift to the Aspen Institute for the project. Three months later, Brooks introduced Times readers to his concept of “Weavers,” which he described as people who fight social isolation by “building community and weaving the social fabric” across the US.
“We need to create a shared Weaver identity,” Brooks wrote in the column “A Nation of Weavers.” To make that happen, Brooks explained, he had started Weave at the Aspen Institute.
Brooks has published multiplecolumns that promote Weave, in addition to writing pieces that mention Facebook, its founder Mark Zuckerberg, and the company’s products without disclosing his financial ties to the social networking giant.
The amount and timing of Facebook’s funding, which had not been previously reported, combined with Brooks’s promotion of Weave in the Times, has raised questions about the columnist’s conflicts of interest. Last Friday, BuzzFeed News reported that Brooks wrote a blog post for Facebook’s corporate website that was timed with the release of a New York University–led study about Facebook Groups that was funded by the social media giant. Brooks did not tell his editors he was writing for Facebook, according to a Times spokesperson.
Brooks did not respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment.
A spokeswoman for the New York Times said Brooks’ work with Weave is under internal review.
“We’re in the process of reviewing David’s relationship with the Weave Project and the Aspen Institute, and what disclosures, if any, should be added to David’s columns going forward,” said Eileen Murphy, the senior vice president of corporate communications for the Times.
Last week, BuzzFeed News reported that Brooks published a 900-word blog post to Facebook’s corporate website to promote a new study of groups that was funded by the company. Brooks also reportedly appeared on a Facebook-produced video panel about the study.
The Times told BuzzFeed News that it was not aware of Brooks’ work with Facebook and that he was not compensated for it.
The University of Texas at Austin’s School of Journalism and Media announced Wednesday that it has introduced new awards “honoring reporting as well as exceptional content,” named after former CBS News anchor Dan Rather.
While the school did not mention the fact that Rather was fired after being caught reporting fake news based on forged documents smearing President George W. Bush in 2004, observers on social media were quick to remind them.
What are the details?
Jay Bernhart, dean of UT’s Moody College of Education, tweeted, “Dan Rather is not only a legend — he’s the namesake of new awards honoring his career and the work of today’s journalists. We are thrilled to announce the @DanRather Medals for News and Guts.”
Dan Rather is not only a legend — he’s the namesake of new awards honoring his career and the work of today’s jour… https://t.co/xJSkh0shna
The dean’s post was roundly mocked and criticized, garnering reactions such as, “It’s interesting that someone created an award for a man who was forced to resign in disgrace for violating the most basic standards of journalism. A legend, indeed.”
Another person joked, “The back has the inscription ‘Fake, but accurate,” while someone else wrote, “I’ve got to believe that even Dan finds this embarrassing.”
“Irony is dead, buried, and cremated,” quipped Daily Telegraph opinion editor James Morrow.
In their promotion of the new awards, UT stated, “The Dan Rather Medals for News and Guts honor the process of journalism as much as the end product. They will be awarded to professional and collegiate journalists who go the extra yard — overcoming obstacles like stonewalling and harassment — to get the story that tells truth to power.”
They added, “While journalism and journalists have long been under constant fire from the powerful, recognizing those who show “News and Guts” has never been more important than it is today.”
UT did not mention the fact that Rather was fired for reporting false information.
Rather, a Texas native, was forced out of the CBS anchor chair in 2005 after using unauthenticated documents in a 2004 report claiming that George W. Bush had gone absent without leave from the Texas Air National Guard. He has enjoyed a recent career renaissance thanks to his folksy, far-left Twitter persona and standing among media correspondents like CNN’s Brian Stelter.
According to The Washington Examiner‘s Becket Adams, “Rather should be a pariah in media, especially because he still maintains he did nothing wrong (he did). But he has enjoyed a renaissance in the news business these past couple of years, thanks, in large part, to his anti-President Trump social media activities.”
With 16 days until the election, and so many unanswered questions surrounding Joe Biden’s campaign, the media asked the Democratic presidential nominee the critical question of: “What flavor milkshake did you get?” That was the pivotal query that the press decided to ask the possible next president with a little over two weeks until the election.
On Sunday, Biden made a stop in Durham, North Carolina, where he visited the fast-food chain Cookout. Biden and his granddaughter Finnegan ordered milkshakes from the North Carolina-based burger joint.
As Biden walked away with his frosty treats, a reporter shouted, “Mr. Biden! Mr. Biden! What flavor did you get?”
Joe Biden and granddaughter, Finnegan, get milkshakes at Cookout in Durham, NC https://t.co/o4B8ziU7H9
The Hill media reporter Joe Concha commented on the hard-hitting journalism.
“There has never been a presidential candidate less scrutinized that the 2020 Democratic nominee,” Concha said. “And this is after political media screaming about transparency for the past four years. You either hold the powerful or potentially accountable or you don’t.”
New York Magazine and HuffPost contributor Yashar Ali tweeted, “‘What flavor did you get?’ – you don’t need to ask the candidate this question. Find out from staff. Two weeks out, a party nominee should be asked more substantive questions. This isn’t the first Iowa trip!”
The question about Biden’s milkshake somehow became even worse when CBS political correspondent Ed O’Keefe reported that the candidate would likely call a lid until Thursday’s presidential debate in Nashville.
“This week is mostly about debate prep,” O’Keefe said Sunday on “Face the Nation.” “He will not be seen again after today until Thursday night in Nashville at that next debate. So they’re going to keep him focused on that. That’s a signal that they believe this is still a very big opportunity for them to provide one last contrast with the president and they have to prepare him for potential attacks from the president.”
With a little over two weeks until #electionday, what strategy does the @joebiden campaign take in the final days o… https://t.co/BNrVkEtCXd
John Daniszewski, the AP’s vice president for Standards, noted in a blog post that the news outlet “consulted with a wide group of people internally and externally around the globe and considered a variety of commentary in making these decisions.”
“There was clear desire and reason to capitalize Black,” Daniszewski continued. “Most notably, people who are Black have strong historical and cultural commonalities, even if they are from different parts of the world, and even if they now live in different parts of the world. That includes the shared experience of discrimination due solely to the color of one’s skin.”
He added, however, that at the moment there’s “less support for capitalizing white.”
The reason? “White people generally do not share the same history and culture, or the experience of being discriminated against because of skin color,” Daniszewski noted. “In addition, we are a global news organization, and in much of the world there is considerable disagreement, ambiguity, and confusion about whom the term includes.”
While the AP acknowledges that “white people’s skin color plays into systemic inequalities and injustices, and we want our journalism to robustly explore those problems,” Daniszewski said “capitalizing the term white, as is done by white supremacists, risks subtly conveying legitimacy to such beliefs.”
More from the outlet:
Some have expressed the belief that if we don’t capitalize white, we are being inconsistent and discriminating against white people or, conversely, that we are implying that white is the default. We also recognize the argument that capitalizing the term could pull white people more fully into issues and discussions of race and equality. We will closely watch how usage and thought evolves, and will periodically review our decision.
How did folks react?
Commentary has been coming in fast from the AP’s Twitter post about its decision to keep “white” lowercase while capitalizing “Black” — and as you can imagine, not everybody views it as a helpful or fair-minded move:
“They should both be lowercase, as that is the grammatically correct way,” one commenter noted. “This doesn’t make any sense.”
“Wow, that’s not racist at all, except for the racist part,” another commenter said.
“Capitalizing things to show some sort of respect is gratuitous,” yet another individual opined. “Proper nouns are capitalized and adjectives derived thereof are capitalized. Common nouns and adjectives derived thereof are not. Period. Paragraph.”
“Total and complete racism, bigotry, and just flat out idiocy,” another person said.
“The woke mob cannot be satiated, @AP,” one commenter added. “This does nothing other than signal your irrationality, intellectual weakness, and dishonesty. Congrats!”
Oh, and if you want an idea of what support for the AP’s decision looks like, one commenter in the thread offered frequent defenses. Here’s one of them: “My love, this is not what racism is. Uppercasing ‘Black’ is a symbol to make up for all of the history, culture, and knowledge that the world robbed from them when we enslaved them. We don’t do it for white people because we don’t need to. We are celebrated already.”
The American public relies on journalists to provide accurate information, but a new poll shows that most Americans are not confident that reporters act in the best interests of the public.
Even worse, even more of us believe journalists do not have high ethical standards. It’s so bad, that Americans rank them behind lawyers (though they did beat out elected officials).
What’s the data?
A new Pew Research poll found that only 48% of U.S. adults have a great deal (9%) or a fair amount (39%) of confidence that journalists act in the best interests of the public they serve. That’s down 7 points from 2018, the last time the question was asked.
Pew also asked Americans for their thoughts on journalists’ ethical standards, and the news wasn’t great. Just 43% of adults say journalists have very high (6%) or high (37%) ethical standards — a 1-point drop from last year.
Not surprisingly, there’s a definite partisan gap in the polling.
While 70% of Democrats have at least a fair amount of confidence that reporters act in the best interests of the public, only 23% of Republicans say the same.
On the ethical standards question, less than two-thirds of Democrats (64%) say journalists have high ethical standards and only 19% of Republicans feel that way.
They ranked behind lawyers?
Pew asked Americans about the perceived ethical standards of other professions, and journalists did not fare well in comparison. Beating them out were medical doctors, police officers, religious leaders, and lawyers.
But journalists weren’t the lowest-ranked on the ethical standards ranking.
Elected officials trailed them by 16 points at 27%.
The Chinese government revoked the press credentials of American journalists for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal Tuesday, effectively expelling them from the country.
The journalists will be required to turn in their press cards to the Chinese government within 10 calendar days and will “not be allowed to continue working as journalists in the People’s Republic of China, including its Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions,” according to the announcement from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs office.
The country also ordered the journalists from those media outlets — along with voice of America and Time magazine — to “declare in written form” information about their operation within the country.
What’s the background?
The move is the latest escalation in a media war between the United States and China amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
In the announcement, the Chinese government stated that the expulsion was a necessary retaliation to the U.S. State Department’s action last month, which designated five Chinese state media outlets as “foreign missions.” The designation meant that the outlets would be treated as arms of the Chinese government.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued that the five outlets were “clearly controlled by the [Chinese Communist Party]” and that the U.S. was “simply recognizing that fact by taking this action.”
Then in March, the State Department also capped the number of Chinese journalists that could work for the media outlets at 100, which resulted in 60 Chinese nationals having to leave the country.
‘Disinformation and outlandish rumors’
The global coronavirus outbreak has heightened the intensity of the conflict of late, as many in the U.S. suspect that China lied for weeks regarding the origin and severity of the novel virus, which began in Wuhan, China, last year.
On Saturday, the State Department “hauled in” the Chinese ambassador to the U.S. to confront him over a Chinese official’s unsubstantiated claims that the virus was introduced in Wuhan by the U.S. Army.
Then early this week, Secretary Pompeo again lashed out at the Chinese government for pushing the claims.
In a phone call with the Chinese Foreign Affairs office director, Pompeo “conveyed strong U.S. objections to PRC efforts shift blame for COVID-19 to the United States,” according to a statement from the State Department.
“The Secretary stressed that this is not the time to spread disinformation and outlandish rumors, but rather a time for all nations to come together to fight this common threat,” the statement added.
“Trump tells governors not to wait for federal government to look for needed medical equipment on their own,” tweeted Peter Baker of the New York Times.
“Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment—try getting it yourselves,” the quote read.
But according to the Washington Examiner, the president followed up that quote with a clarification that the White House would help governors with the effort to obtain medical equipment.
“We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves,” he said. “Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself.”
Trump retweeted the Examiner post, adding, “The ‘Times’ is a disgrace to journalism!”
Critics of the president have quested whether the administration has taken the coronavirus epidemic seriously enough, while Trump maintains that he has acted as well as anyone could have possibly expected.
Here’s more about Trump’s response to the pandemic:
President Trump warns coronavirus crisis could last until August, cause a recession
Today’s journalists are expected to fall in line with the media narrative. If they dare to do real journalism — they’d better watch their backs.
South African-born investigative journalist, Lara Logan, has built her career on the front lines of history, and she’s paid a heavier price for truth than most can imagine — targeted and smeared by the media, not to mention the brutal atrocities she’s lived through in the field.
Lara joined Glenn Beck in the studio to talk about her remarkable career reporting from active war zones and everything she’s learned about the left’s media “playbook” for spreading disinformation, launching smear campaigns, and using pressure tactics to promote a radical progressive agenda.
“Go back and look at the documents produced in, I think, 2012 about gun control and how to guide people through that movement and make your case. It literally says, ‘Don’t take on this argument. Don’t take on the Second Amendment … because that doesn’t work. Use the emotional argument. That’s the playbook, and it’s the playbook across all different platforms,” Lara told Glenn. “I can prove this isn’t a conspiracy because those documents exist.”
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One thing we’ve learned from the Trump Presidency is that the “deep state” is not just some crazy conspiracy theory. For the past three years, we’ve seen that deep state launch plot after plot to overturn the election.
It all started with former CIA director John Brennan’s phony “Intelligence Assessment” of Russian involvement in the 2016 election. It was claimed that all 17 US intelligence agencies agreed that Putin put Trump in office, but we found out later that the report was cooked up by a handful of Brennan’s hand-picked agents.
Donald Trump upset the Washington apple cart as a presidential candidate and in so doing he set elements of the deep state in motion against him.
One of the things candidate Donald Trump did to paint a deep state target on his back was his repeated praise of Wikileaks, the pro-transparency media organization headed up by Australian journalist Julian Assange. More than 100 times candidate Trump said “I love Wikileaks” on the campaign trail.
Trump loved it when Wikileaks exposed the criminality of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, as it cheated to deprive Bernie Sanders of the Democratic Party nomination. Wikileaks’ release of the DNC emails exposed the deep corruption at the heart of US politics, and as a candidate, Trump loved the transparency.
Then Trump got elected.
The real tragedy of the Trump presidency is nowhere better demonstrated than in Trump’s 180 degree turn away from Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange. “I know nothing about Wikileaks,” he said as president. “It’s really not my thing.”
US pressure and bribes to the Ecuadorian government ended Assange’s asylum and his seven years in a room at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. After his dramatic arrest by London’s Metropolitan Police last April, he has been effectively tortured in British jails at the behest of the US deep state.
Today, Monday the 24th of February, Assange faces an extradition hearing in a UK courthouse. The Trump administration – led by a man who praised Assange’s work – seeks a show trial of Assange worthy of the worst of the Soviet era. The US is seeking a 175-year prison sentence.
The Trump administration argues that the Australian Assange should be tried and convicted of espionage against a country of which he is not a citizen. At the same time the Trump administration argues that the First Amendment does not apply to Assange because he is not an American citizen! So Assange is subject to US law when it comes to publishing information embarrassing to the US deep state but he is not subject to the law of the land – the US Constitution – which protects all journalists and is the backbone of our system of government.
It is ironic that a President Trump who has been the victim of so much deep state meddling has done the deep state’s bidding when it comes to Assange and Wikileaks. President Trump should preempt the inevitable US show trial of Assange by granting the journalist blanket pardon under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
The deep state Trump is serving by persecuting Assange is the same deep state that continues to plot Trump’s own ouster. Free Assange!
The move is called a stealth edit and it is bad journalistic practice, to say the least.
The article in question is an opinion piece written by Julia Azari, a political science professor at Marquette University, in which she argued for changing the current primary system to give Democratic Party “elites,” and not the electorate, the ultimate power to pick the party’s candidate.
It was originally titled, “It’s time to give the elites a bigger say in choosing the president,” but the headline did not go over well, as immediately upon publication it became the subject of scorn and ridicule on Twitter. Now, that same article is titled, “It’s time to switch to preference primaries.”
Despite the headline change, the substance of the article remains the same, and though “elites” are no longer mentioned in the headline, they are still mentioned seven times in the relatively short article.
Image Source: WashingtonPost.com screenshot
Disgruntled supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) understood the op-ed to be a swipe at his grassroots campaign amid his surge to the top of the Democratic presidential field.
In the article, Azari expressed doubts about whether the two leading candidates — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg — would be able to the unite the party.
One user derided the article, quote-tweeting it, saying, “S**t people say when Bernie Sanders takes the lead.”
Others took cracks at the irony of the Washington Post — known for their tag, “Democracy Dies in Darkness” — publishing an article calling for less democracy.
“‘Democracy dies in darkness’ isn’t always true,” one person said. “Sometimes it dies in daylight on the pages of Washington Post, especially when Bernie Sanders is winning and elites are having a meltdown.”
“Seeing the words “Democracy dies in darkness” over an article literally calling for oligarchy is the height of irony,” another added.
Still another said: “‘Democracy Dies in Darkness!’ ‘Oh, and we must take democracy away from you in broad daylight and let elites vote for you’ – WaPo.”
One person jabbed the news outlet, saying, “The Onion must have passed on this headline, so WaPo scooped it up.”
TheBlaze has reached out to the Washington Post for comment, and this story will be updated with any remarks the news outlet provides.
Diamond Princess confirms another 79 cases as quarantine ends
CDC questions Japan’s handling of ‘DP’ quarantine
The UK tells passengers to stay aboard ship until it finishes planning an official evacuation
Video shows group who broke quarantine in Wuhan being taken to ‘reeducation center’
Russia “clarifies” ban on all Chinese: Says will allow some visas.
Markets climb amid optimism that China is moving to support industries harmed by the outbreak
Puma, Adidas warn of a virus-related hit in Q1
Taiwan, South Korea report new cases
The 2 Iranian COVID-19 patients reported earlier have died.
* * *
Update (1115ET): The 2 Iranians who reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 have died, according to several foreign media reports cited by Reuters.
As we reported earlier, a health ministry spokesperson said both cases were found and isolated in the city of Qom, where the two were treated in quarantine. Their conditions were said to be relatively stable earlier.
Experts worry that Iran might have dozens more undiagnosed cases by now, even as Iran has applied ‘safety measures’ like temperature screenings at its airports. That hasn’t exactly been found to be the most effective measure to stop those infected with the virus from slipping through.
* * *
Update (1025ET): Epoch Times’ Jennifer Zeng has shared some of the most startling videos gleaned from Chinese social media before the country’s censors can take them down.
And this latest one is no exception.
According to Zeng, the crowd of people depicted in the video are being herded into the “No. 2 Hospital of Wuhan Iron & Steel Corp” to be “re-educated” after they were caught walking the street without permission or an excuse.
These draconian crackdowns are driving millions of Chinese bonkers as they’re confined largely to their homes. And all of it will be rendered insignificant as Japan unleashes a boat load of infected patients on Tokyo.
Meanwhile, the latest figures show that over 15,000 people around the world have now recovered from the virus. The recovery rate for Hubei is still below 15%, unfortunately, while the number for the outside world is 40%. Eight out of nine patients in the UK have recovered, while half of Thailand’s 35 cases have recovered.
In Thailand, nearly half of the 35 cases in the country have recovered. Earlier this week, the WHO said 4/5 of the cases in China were relatively mild and are expected to recover.
Elsewhere, Taiwan reported another confirmed case on Wednesday, its 24th confirmed infection: the victim was said to be a woman in her 60s with no history of foreign travel. Just like in Japan, more cases are emerging where the source of the virus is baffling to authorities.
* * *
Update (0900ET): Following Russian newswire reports yesterday that the Kremlin would become the first country to completely ban all Chinese from entering the country and freeze all visas for Chinese applicants, the Russian Foreign Minister on Wednesday clarified that it will continue to issue some visas, with very strict guidelines.
Visas will continue to be issued for official, business, humanitarian and transit purposes, the foreign ministry said.
The ban will take effect Thursday at midnight Moscow Time.
The Kremlin imposed the ban because of the “worsening epidemiological situation” in China, according to the office of the deputy prime minister, according to the Guardian.
The Foreign Minister added that the ban is temporary and only applies to visitors with tourist, private, student and work visas.
“We reiterate our willingness to continue close cooperation with China in order to efficiently eradicate this common threat.”
Russia has had three confirmed cases of the Covid-19 disease.
Beijing has made it known that it finds bans on Chinese travelers to be “racist”. Following the expulsion of 3 WSJ journalists over a ‘racist’ opinion column, we suspect the Russian embassy got an earful from their partners in Beijing.
* * *
Update (0845ET): As the G-20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors begins in Riyadh, the IMF has published an essay warning that newfound “uncertainties” brought about by the coronavirus could lead to a “long-lasting and more severe outbreak”.
In the lengthy piece, penned by IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, warns that after central banks around the world including the Fed cut rates 71 times last year, the biggest monetary boom since the global financial crisis has left the global economy in good shape.
Still, China presents a serious problem. If the virus is contained, the economic impact on the mainland will be short-lived, and the knock-on effects for the rest of the world, transmitted via disruptions to global supply chains, will be minimal.
But if Beijing can’t get a handle on this thing, well…
The coronavirus is our most pressing uncertainty: a global health emergency we did not anticipate in January. It is a stark reminder of how a fragile recovery could be threatened by unforeseen events. There are a number of scenarios, depending on how quickly the spread of the virus is contained. If the disruptions from the virus end quickly, we expect the Chinese economy to bounce back soon. The result would be a sharp drop in GDP growth in China in the first quarter of 2020, but only a small reduction for the entire year. Spillovers to other countries would remain relatively minor and short-lived, mostly through temporary supply chain disruptions, tourism, and travel restrictions.
However, a long-lasting and more severe outbreak would result in a sharper and more protracted growth slowdown in China. Its global impact would be amplified through more substantial supply chain disruptions and a more persistent drop in investor confidence, especially if the epidemic spreads beyond China.
The rest of the essay goes on to discuss a host of other global risk factors.
The implications are clear: Central banks response to the outbreak will inevitably be to ease more (a process that the PBOC has already started, and which the Bank of Korea is expected to join). Which means Davos 2021 will be all about central banks’ inability to rescue the global economy.
* * *
Tehran is not having a good year.
First, President Trump rang in the new decade by barbecuing the leader of the IRGC Quds Force. In response, Iran killed zero Americans but accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane, killing nearly 200 people, including dozens of Iranian students, then they tried to lie about it, before finally coming clean.
All that was probably enough to destabilize the regime on its own. Though it has quieted down somewhat, the public outrage is still simmering as Iran’s rolling economic crisis continues.
Now, on top of all that, Tehran has confirmed to the AP that authorities have confirmed two cases of the coronavirus in Iran. That means the virus has now infiltrated two of the world’s most isolated states – Iran and North Korea. Many outsiders believe North Korea has confirmed at least one case of the virus, but that it has withheld this information from the international community to avoid inciting a panic.
Like North Korea, Iran’s battered economy, crippled by years of American sanctions, is hardly equipped to deal with the outbreak. According to Iranian media, the cases were confirmed in the central province of Qom. More patients are being tested as an unknown number of suspected cases have been isolated, according to the AP.
Last night in New York, we reported that Japanese health authorities were preparing to release the first batch of 500 passengers and crew who had reportedly tested negative for the virus (though that doesn’t completely rule out the possibility that a few of them might still develop symptoms caused by COVID-19).
On Wednesday morning in the US (so Wednesday night in Japan), health officials revealed that 79 more people on board had tested positive for the virus, taking the total number of infected aboard the ship to 621, the AP reports.
As we’ve noted several times, the notion that thousands of people are about to be released while hundreds of cases of the virus are still being confirmed seems like insanity. While most of the patients will face two more weeks of quarantine when they return home, how are they planning on getting there? There’s been no word of official government transport. By allowing them to travel home, Japan is breaking the quarantine.
Britain has told passengers on board the ship not to disembark when Japan gives them the all-clear, instead advising them to stay put and wait for the UK to organize an evacuation flight later this week to minimize their odds of infecting others.
It seems like a particularly stupid thing to do when the Tokyo Olympics are coming up this summer.
After the virus death toll on the mainland hit 2,000 last night, Johns Hopkins reports that the number of confirmed cases and deaths haven’t moved since then: By their count, total confirmed stood at 75,201 while deaths stood at 2,012.
Last night, the CDC warned that Japan’s quarantine of the ‘Diamond Princess’ “may not have been sufficient” to prevent transmission among individuals on the ship.
In other slightly more positive cruise-ship related news, the Guardian reports that A total of 781 guests who disembarked from the Westerdam cruise ship in Cambodia have tested negative for Covid-19, according to Holland America, the ship’s operator. The final passengers left the ship on Wednesday.
As Beijing tries to reassure its population, half of which is under lockdown, that everything is going to be okay, Reuters reports that China’s central bank and its finance ministry won’t send any officials to a G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Riyadh due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Meanwhile, in Wuhan, the twin nightmares of the ‘wartime’ lockdown coupled with the ravages of the virus continue to work their wonders.
"Yesterday morning he was still able to speak…It’s all because of their delay!…How can I get through this without my dad?" A young girl cries on the street of #Wuhan over the death of her father. pic.twitter.com/O9xHB2q2GC
The yuan strengthened early Wednesday following reports that China is weighing measures including direct cash infusions and mergers to bail out the airline industry and others. Earlier, the state-directed Chinese banks to offer emergency loans to troubled companies. The South Korean government and central bank announced a similar plan earlier this week. Some of the measures including easing infection controls in certain manufacturing hubs to get production back online.
Optimism about China’s efforts to help companies hurt by the virus put US stocks on track for a solid gain at the open on Wednesday, potentially enough to send all three benchmark indexes to fresh record highs.
Speaking of South Korea, the country reported 20 new cases overnight, bringing its total to 51.
Remember, next time you hear somebody talking about the outbreak ‘slowing down’, take a look at this:
In corporate news, Puma and Adidas, which generate 1/3rd of revenues in the APac region, became the latest clothing brands to warn of disruption in their business in China as they have closed stores there. Puma sees a hit in Q1, while Adidas notes an 85% decline in business activity in the world’s second-biggest economy.
China has expelled three Wall Street Journal reporters in response to an opinion article the outlet published titled, “China is the Real Sick Man in Asia” — even though none of the reporters being punished had anything to do with the article, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Chao Deng, Josh Chin, and Philip Wen were given five days to leave the country after having their press card revoked by the government. Chao had been on the ground in Wuhan covering the extent of the coronavirus outbreak and how it was impacting the lives of residents.
Chinese spokesman Geng Shuang said the WSJ headline was an insult to China’s efforts to fight coronavirus, and said it carried racist connotations.
“The Chinese people do not welcome those media that speak racially discriminatory languages,” Geng said.
The Times explained the background of the “sick man” reference, and why it could be viewed with particular offense by China:
The term “sick man of Asia” was a reference to Qing Dynasty China in the late 19th and 20th centuries, when it suffered both internal divisions and imperial exploitation from both Western countries and Japan, and eventually collapsed.
The phrase mirrors the “sick man of Europe” term used to describe the Ottoman Empire in decline. “Sick man” has been commonly used in Western media to describe other countries in crisis, including the United States.
But in China, the “sick man” phrase has also been read as a derogatory description of Chinese people as inherently inferior, disease-ridden beings.
The Feb. 2 opinion piece was written by Walter Russell Mead, a professor at Bard College, and explored the financial and medical impact of coronavirus.
The headline probably wasn’t the only — and possibly not even the primary — reason China decided to punish the American journalists. One day before the expulsion, the U.S. State Department designated five Chinese state-run media organizations as “foreign missions.” All five outlets have significant U.S. operations, and the designation will require them to report personnel and property ownership to the State Department.
Geng expressed China’s disapproval with the move.
“Media play an important role like a bridge or bond facilitating communication and understanding. … We urge the U.S. to discard its ideological prejudice and Cold War zero-sum game mentality, and stop ill-advised measures that undermine bilateral trust,” he said Wednesday, according to the Times.
China has a history of stirring up nationalism and anti-Western feelings in the country to distract from crises, the Times noted, and the Journal writers’ expulsion is very likely intended as a warning to other foreign media outlets that, if their work does not meet the approval of the Chinese government, they may face they same fate.
The Wall Street Journal issued a statement in response to China’s expulsion of its reporters.