Marco Rubio Says Media Can’t Contain ‘Glee’ Over Coronavirus Bad News — A CBS Journalist Puts Him In His Place

Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, doesn’t defend President Donald Trump to the same extent that, say, his colleague Lindsey Graham of South Carolina does. However, Rubio has his Trump apologist moments, and on Sunday seemed to be attacking the media for its negative stories on coronavirus, much like the president frequently does.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

After the United States surpassed China for the highest number of coronavirus cases reported, news media rightly wrote headlines detailing how America was now the nation with the most cases of the disease out of any other on the globe. That didn’t sit well with Rubio, who believed that news organizations were happy about the development.

“Some in our media can’t contain their glee & delight in reporting that the U.S. has more #CoronaVirus cases than #China,” the senator tweeted on Sunday morning. “Beyond being grotesque, it is bad journalism.”

Rubio doesn’t explain what he’d rather see the media do — it would arguably be “bad journalism” if they didn’t report on the development, too, but the senator didn’t acknowledge that point of view. Instead, he suggested that China was perhaps not reporting all of its cases of coronavirus, and that, perhaps, was why we were now the world’s leader in cases.

The same could be true of the United States, however: biostatisticians, noting that testing kits are limited and that testing overall isn’t giving us a true picture of the spread of the disease, suggested last week that U.S. totals could be as many as five times greater than what we have ourselves reported thus far.

But Rubio’s remarks are tasteless for another reason: they suggest reporters are hopeful for bad news. Grace Segers, a digital political reporter for CBS News, corrected Rubio by quoting his tweet later on Sunday, reminding him that the crisis affected everyone, including journalists.

“CBS News employees literally just found out today that one of our colleagues had died from the virus,” Segers wrote, referring to longtime producer Maria Mercader, whose death was announced earlier in the day. “Journalists are among the sick and dying, just like thousands of other Americans.”

Rubio had no evidence to suggest that reporters were gleeful over bad news emanating from the U.S. And his suggestion that media was happy over such bad news was rightfully countered by Segers’s remarks.

Featured image credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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