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Useful Idiots: Mainstream Media Rhetoric on ‘Wuhan Virus’ Echoes Chinese Propaganda

  • Media rhetoric about the coronavirus has echoed Chinese government propaganda 
  • Both China and media members have denounced President Trump as racist for using the terms “Chinese virus” and “Wuhan virus.”
  • China is waging an aggressive propaganda campaign meant to conceal its role in the global pandemic. 
  • Media outlets used terms like “Chinese virus” and “Wuhan virus” before criticizing the president for doing the same 

Media rhetoric surrounding what to call coronavirus echoed the Chinese government’s aggressive propaganda campaign designed to absolve the communist regime of wrongdoing.

Both China and members of the establishment media have focused on President Donald Trump’s habit of referring to the virus as a “Chinese virus” or the “Wuhan virus,” which both the communist regime and media members have said is racist.

The media outcry belies the fact that establishment outlets have also referred to coronavirus, formally named COVID-19, as “the Chinese virus” and “the Wuhan virus.” The New York Times, for example, has used both terms in reference to the virus, but is now painting Trump using the same language as problematic.

Even Chinese state media initially referred to the virus as the “Wuhan coronavirus.”

But that hasn’t stopped both establishment media sources and the Chinese regime from now declaring the terms to be out-of-bounds.

MSNBC anchor John Heilemann said on air Wednesday that Trump’s use of the term “Chinese virus” is “nakedly racist and obviously racist and blatantly racist.”


CNN opinion writer Jill Filipovic argued Wednesday that using the term “Chinese virus” was “xenophobic racism,” and compared it to scapegoating European Jews for the Black Death.

The rush to label the terms as “racist” comes as the Chinese government has amped up propaganda worldwide in an attempt to eschew taking responsibility for the global pandemic.

The oppressive regime has denounced “racist” attempts to link the virus — which originated in China — to China, while at the same time falsely accusing America of bringing the virus to China.

China’s propaganda apparatus is also spinning a false narrative in which China bought the world time by acting swiftly against the virus.

“Many media outlets have criticized the White House for squandering the precious time China has bought the world to fight against the virus,” claimed a Tuesday article in Xinhua News, a state-run Chinese outlet.

In reality, China robbed the world of time to fight the virus by engaging in a cover up. One study estimated that China could have prevented up to 95% of the global outbreak if they hadn’t concealed and then downplayed the virus’s existence.

Xinhua’s article claimed the term “Chinese virus” was an attempt by the U.S. to “scapegoat” China — a message that NBC News correspondent Richard Engel echoed on air the following day.

“If you look at what happened during the Middle Ages, there was lots and lots of scapegoating against an ethnic group or a religious group whenever there were pandemics that affected society and frightened a lot of people, and China certainly feels that that is what is happening now with people calling it the ‘Wuhan flu’ or the ‘Wuhan virus’ or the ‘China virus,’” Engel said on NBC sister network MSNBC.

“This is a virus that came from the territory of China but came from bats,” Engel continued. “This is a bat virus, not a China virus.”

American politicians “even went so far by employing racist language to label the pathogen behind the disease the ‘Chinese virus’; or ‘Wuhan virus,’ although its origin remains undetermined and viruses have no nationalities,” Xinhua asserted on Tuesday.

Two days later, on Thursday, the propaganda outlet claimed vindication by pointing to Democratic politicians like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York Rep. Lois Frankel, who condemned Trump’s use of the phrase “Chinese virus.”

NBC News, The New York Times and Filipovic didn’t return requests for comment.

Some journalists have rejected the establishment media’s rush to denounce terms like “Chinese virus” and “Wuhan virus.”

“Those American critics who raise the racism canard are themselves inadvertently collapsing the distinctions between an authoritarian regime and those who live under it. Too many also seem comfortable drawing moral equivalencies between the Chinese regime and Donald Trump,” noted The Atlantic writer Shadi Hamid.

“This attitude is hard to take seriously. Trump didn’t block the media from reporting on the coronavirus; he did not disappear his critics. The nature of a regime matters. And this is why I, for one, am glad to live in a democracy, however flawed, in this time of unprecedented crisis,” Hamid added.

“It’s actually very important we continue to refer to COVID19 as the Wuhan Virus,” HillTV host Saagar Enjeti said.

“The Chinese government is working overtime to blame the CIA and anyone else for their failings,” he contiunued. “The name should indicate exactly where it came from so they can’t gaslight future generations.”

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  1. The President has every right to call the the Wuhan Virus or the China Virus… That’s where it originated unchecked and hidden. He should not call it the Chinese Virus … Chinese are the people of China its not their fault..except for Xi Ping.

  2. Being mentally limited and devote haters of Mr. Trump the race cards is played because they have nothing else. Does calling it the “Chinese Virus” insulting, no more than getting “Chinese Food” both connotating a location and an item nothing else.
    The media operate under the old saying “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” so the retransmission of Chinese propaganda is perfectly logical. The Chinese government and the media hate Mr. Trump and America so they continue to support each other in their hate and hope for the worse in America.

    Disgusting at best traitorous at worst, but in their hate they don’t care.

  3. Chinese virus, China virus, Wuhan virus….Chinese virus, China virus, Wuhan virus….Chinese virus, China virus, Wuhan virus.

    What’s going to be stated when it is possibly discovered it is man-made and not a naturally occurring virus? Has anyone wondered why the largest terrorist state in the world (IRAN) had 3 health ministers die? and has an extremely large incidence of infections? A terrorist state with very close ties to China, but physically thousands of miles away?

    Yea, its the; Chinese virus, China virus, Wuhan virus or whatever else you want to call it, but they are most definitely RESPONSIBLE.

  4. Big Bad Xi
    Little Pigs, Little Pigs Let me in.
    Not by the hair of our chins chin chins
    Then I’ll manipulate our currency , chat lie and steal and
    I’ll huff, and puff and blow your house in
    And the house was gone and the three little Yankee piggys were in Xi’s pot.

  5. Cancel our debt to China to compensate for our expenses due to this CHINESE virus because of their secrecy and negligence.

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