Media Linking New COVID-19 Cases To Black Lives Matter Protesters Is Irresponsible Journalism

Why mention the person previously protested if it has nothing to do with their current diagnosis?

The last 24 hours have been plastered with articles about new cases of COVID-19, and many of them link Black Lives Matter protesters to new coronavirus cases in their headlines – despite this having little relevance to the story.

Just today, I saw The Age introduce it’s article by stating that a Black Lives Matter protester had coronavirus – only to further clarify later in the article that the person was unlikely to have gotten the virus at the rally, and was not infectious while there. Turns out the person had probably gotten it from working at H&M afterwards.

Even the ABC, who you can argue is typically less biased, have published a headline implying that a Black Lives Matter protester was infected – obviously not mentioning ’til much further down the article that they had not contracted the virus at the protest, and that their attendance to the protest is actually irrelevant to their current diagnosis.

So if the person didn’t get it at the rally, and actually got it from transmission at their retail workplace or other places afterwards, then why are we still referring to these cases as relevant to the Black Lives Matter rallies?

Oh, that’s right – to demonise Black Lives Matter protesters and vilify them as health dangers, despite the fact that community transmission from the protests is incredibly low.

The Melbourne rally had thousands of attendees, with some publications estimating up to 100,000 protesters. The point is, a lot of people protested. And if a lot of people protested, just statistically there is a high chance of literally anyone who gets coronavirus after that date to have been at a rally.

It doesn’t mean they got infected at the rally, or that the rally is responsible for a spike in cases (actually, 15 of the 18 new cases in Victoria have come from travellers). It’s been confirmed by health officials that the likelihood of catching coronavirus at a rally was incredibly low. There isn’t a correlation here, no matter how hard the media is trying to make it seem so.

So, what is the point? Why is Aussie journalism throwing responsibility to the wind in an effort to demonise protesters? Do we seriously hate protesters so much that we’re not only misconstruing facts to alienate and demonise a certain group of people, but also jeopardising everyone else by omitting details about where people actually contracted the virus?

Obviously, this is typical for Murdoch owned press who have always had a right-wing agenda. The ABC though? When more neutral(ish) publications start buying into this toxic narrative, it’s super troublesome.

Be wary of how the media is framing these new cases, and how they’re discussing the Black Lives Matter protesters – and hold publications accountable for their misinformation. We need to stop letting this shit slide.

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