NPR’s Barbara Sprunt Pushes False Leftist Narrative on Anti-Asian Violence
- Sources are given freedom to dictate reality in “objective” news article
- The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act given almost no scrutiny by reporter
- NPR avoids doing its own reporting, relies on biased sources. Barbara Sprunt presents an unbalanced and biased account of Anti-Asian discrimination in the US
OUR RATING = Trash Journalism, aka the Daily Beast.
In this NPR article, Sprunt reports on “The COVID–19 Hate Crimes Act,” which has passed both the House and Senate. The Act is meant to counteract the supposed rise of Anti-Asian hate crimes during COVID by “ [instructing] the Department of Justice to designate a point person to expedite the review of hate crimes related to COVID-19.” Within the article, Sprunt takes her sources’ opinions as facts, which is reflected both in her headline and article. Rather than investigating the issue herself, Sprunt relies on her sources to write the story for her. Her sources are biased, unbalanced, and have already been debunked by the Pundit.
- Bad Sources
- Opinion as Fact
By just the third paragraph, Sprunt has already promoted her opinion as fact and ignored real evidence linking China to the origin and outbreak of COVID-19:
“A rise in COVID-19 cases, the first instances of which were reported in China, has been linked to an increase in attacks on Asian Americans. Democrats have pointed to former President Donald Trump’s frequent use of racist phrases such as “kung flu” to describe the coronavirus as a link to the increase in anti-Asian sentiment.”
This paragraph skates over the connection between COVID and China (“the first instances of which were reported in China”) and states Sprunt’s opinion, that using the phrase “kung flu” is racist, as fact.
In reality, there is almost damning evidence that coronavirus began in China, who lied about the issue, and that using a remark connecting the two is not at all racist.
It has become increasingly likely that the coronavirus outbreak started in a laboratory in Wuhan, China. Dr. Anthony Fauci very recently said “he is ‘not convinced’ that COVID-19 developed naturally and called for an open investigation into its origins as China faces mounting pressure to provide transparency on the issue” . Former FDA chief, Scott Gottlieb, said the coronavirus may have originated in a lab, not in nature:
““The question for a lot of people is going to be: When are too many coincidences too much? When does it seem that there’s too many things suggesting that this could have come out of a lab?” Gottlieb said. “And right now there’s more and more circumstantial evidence, certainly” .
Even without a deeper investigation into the origin of the outbreak, the one thing sources can all agree is China’s role in it, according to FOX News :
“What all of the sources agree about is the extensive cover-up of data and information about COVID-19 orchestrated by the Chinese government. Documents detail early efforts by doctors at the lab and early efforts at containment. The Wuhan wet market initially identified as a possible point of origin never sold bats, and the sources tell Fox News that blaming the wet market was an effort by China to deflect blame from the laboratory, along with the country’s propaganda efforts targeting the U.S. and Italy.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, the first few Chinese people infected with coronavirus were “were prevented by Chinese authorities from alerting their peers, let alone the public”  .
“Even after Chinese President Xi Jinping personally ordered officials to control the outbreak on Jan. 7, authorities kept denying it could spread between humans—something doctors had known was happening since late December—and went ahead with a Chinese Lunar New Year banquet involving tens of thousands of families in Wuhan.”
Using a phrase that connects China to the coronavirus is not racist. That is only my opinion, however, I do not pose it as fact like Sprunt does. What the facts can say is that the coronavirus is deeply tied to China and the Chinese government, and is not a wild conspiracy theory animating thousands of racists to commit anti-Asian hate crimes    .
The second problem is that Sprunt quotes her sources without fact checking them at all. As a result, she allows them to tell the news story. The most outrageous liar of her sources is Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y, who is quoted saying this:
“Those of Asian descent have been blamed and scapegoated for the outbreak of COVID-19, and as a result, Asian Americans have been beaten, slashed, spat on and even set on fire and killed,” she said at the morning news conference. “The Asian American community is exhausted from being forced to endure this rise in bigotry and racist attacks. Asian Americans are tired of living in fear and being frightened about their kids or elderly parents going outside.”
This is hyperbole of the highest order, and Sprunt doesn’t even attempt to fact check it. This is a failure in reporting.
The only kind of evidence for discrimination that is this widespread and harrowing that I can find is a study from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism that found a nearly 150% surge in anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020, while overall hate crimes fell by 7% .
The Gateway Pundit has already shown that this increase has been blown out of proportion by its lack of context :
“…[A 150% surge] only [means] that there was an increase of only 73 incidents reported since 2019. To extrapolate a broad trend of anti-Asian American racism in the U.S. on the basis of 73 more incidents since 2019 is both illogical and fallacious. Going from 49 to 122 incidents has a different meaning than going from 500 to 750. But this kind of hyperbole, words like “surge” and “spike,” is necessary to bolster the narrative…There are about 20 million Asian Americans in the United States. That means of the 122 anti-Asian incidents, 1 out of 163,934 Asian-Americans have experienced racism, assuming a different Asian-American reported each incident.”
To say that Asian Americans have been “beaten, slashed, spat on and even set on fire and killed” as though that defines the majority of discrimination is absolutely untrue. Sprunt’s own reporting bears this out.
Sprunt writes :
“The community experienced a dramatic spike in the number of hate crimes in the past year. The organization Stop AAPI Hate documented 6,603 hate incidents from March 2020 to March 2021, and leaders said the true number is much higher as many attacks go unreported.”
The Gateway Pundit has already debunked this study, and it is useful to repeat why :
“To begin with the actual data…provide[d] is to begin with a problem. The reporting database compiles harassment which includes categories of verbal harassment, shunning, physical assault, civil rights violations, and online harassment.
Verbal harassment and shunning make up 88% of the violations received. Some of these violations are legitimately unkind and resemble something of a middle school playground. But others are less legitimate, one example is a student who reported that ‘One of [her] professors was talking about the public health response to COVID-19 and explicitly called it the ‘China Virus’ and that ‘we’ve gotta be very careful about that country and what they’d do to us.’
Though verbal and online harassment are clearly unpleasant things, they are obviously not the same as a hate crime, which is defined by the FBI as a ‘traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias.’ It is…opinion that offensive speech is racist violence, not a legal definition. Thus, they don’t merit prosecution.”
This means that the majority of self-reported discrimination is not being “beaten, slashed, spat on and even set on fire and killed” as Meng implies.
This is an irresponsible and negligent news article, even for NPR. Sprunt allows her sources to dictate the narrative, thereby neglecting the journalist’s primary role: speaking truth to power. Instead, she allows those in power to dictate what is “truth.”
OUR RATING = Trash Journalism, aka the Daily Beast.
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