If one of the most powerful tech companies can’t call out the president’s dishonesty, who can?
By Greg Bensinger
Mr. Bensinger is a member of the editorial board.
March 21, 2020
President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has been a case study in a management style marked by falsehoods and intimidation. Rather than risk inviting his ire, subordinates and fellow Republicans covered for him as he delayed a coordinated response to the coronavirus and it felled nearly 200 Americans.
His political allies haven’t been the only ones to fall into line. Just look at the way the president co-opted Google.
While declaring the national emergency last Friday, President Trump announced that he had enlisted Google to create a broadly available website to help facilitate testing for the virus. He said that 1,700 engineers were working on the site and had “made tremendous progress.”
It sounded ambitious and promising. If only it were true.
What followed were attempts by Google to placate the president and a mad scramble to get done what he’d said it was already doing.
Blindsided by the announcement, Google at first revealed that a subsidiary of its parent company known as Verily was working on a small-scale website initially intended only for health care workers in two Bay Area counties. The Verily site was being developed in coordination with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who was taken with the idea after speaking with Verily’s chief executive, Andy Conrad, The New York Times reported. (It rolled out on Sunday but was immediately overwhelmed by people seeking testing.)
But then Google pivoted and announced it was in fact also working on a new national informational coronavirus website. The saga could have ended there, but Mr. Trump instead lambasted the press for correctly reporting that Google initially had no plans for the website he described. And Google did nothing to correct the record, making itself complicit in his stoking of press mistrust.
Mr. Trump asserted on Sunday that Google’s national site was always the plan, while doubling down on his attack, saying, “I don’t know where the press got their fake news, but they got it someplace.” And he said Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google-parent Alphabet, called to apologize, though he didn’t clarify what he meant by that.
Alphabet refused to confirm to The Times whether such a call even occurred or for what Mr. Pichai would need to apologize. And it declined to discuss the episode further.
It’s not the first time a technology company has bent to Mr. Trump’s will. Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, failed to correct Mr. Trump when he took credit in November for opening a Texas computer manufacturing plant that had been in operation since 2013.
Source: The New York Times “Google Gives Cover to Trump’s Lies”
Note: This is The New York Times’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
Western media are full of fake news about China. A typical example is their fake reports about debt trap concerning the lease of Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port, which China has not said much to refute as China focuses on doing its own jobs well and it was a business transaction between a Chinese company and some Sri Lankan companies instead of between governments.
Perhaps as China does not care much about refuting fake news, some Western media has become entirely blatant in making up fake news.
UK’s Star News claims in its report “Rumours swirl after President Xi Jinping disappears as coronavirus rapidly spreads” on February 6 that Chinese “President hasn’t been seen in public in several days and missed his regular media appearances” but Xi appeared on CCTV on February 5 in a footage about his meeting with visiting Cambodian Prime Minister (http://tv.cctv.com/2020/02/05/VIDEge94cLKcARoeizjw2i7w200205.shtml?spm=C31267.PFsKSaKh6QQC.S71105.4)
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Star Daily’s report, full text of which can be viewed at
Australian ASPI’s report “What satellite imagery reveals about Xinjiang’s ‘re-education’ camps and coerced labour” reminds me of the fake news by Gang-of-Four reporters during China’s Cultural Revolution. The report shows the extraordinary skill of making fake news that I thought only the Gang of Four was so impudent to make.
The title of the report makes readers believe that the satellite photos show that there are “re-education camp” that coerces people to work for a factory.
In fact the photos only show some buildings that emerged along with those of the factories and some buses that may be used to send people from the buildings to the factory.
So What? It is common for a factory to build dormitories nearby for its workers and have buses to send them to and from the factory. Can some buildings near a factory prove those buildings are used to detain people. The buildings in the photos look utterly unlike a detention center.
There are no people in any of the photos to prove people are held there in custody or sent to the factory for coerced labor.
As the photos do not reveal anything claimed in the report, the writer of the report knowingly uses the term of “potentially” in conclusion. For Gang-of-Four writers, everything they wrote could “potentially” be true so that innocent Chinese President Liu Shaoqi could be accused as a traitor and persecuted to death for that.
By the way, have any Gang-of-Four writers immigrated to Australia?
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on ASPI’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/what-satellite-imagery-reveals-about-xinjiangs-re-education-camps-and-coerced-labour/.