Donald Trump announced this week he intends to halt funding for the World Health Organization over the group’s suspicious relationship with China. Doubtless you’ll be shocked to hear that the establishment media quickly fell in line to defend one of its favorite globalist institutions, regardless of its actual effectiveness. The New York Times, fresh off picking apart the woman who has accused Joe Biden of sexual assault, scraped together an article defending the WHO’s response to the coronavirus outbreak in a stunning display of revisionist history.
‘The World Health Organization, always cautious, acted more forcefully and faster than many national governments’, declared the Times‘s standfirst, which prompted Cockburn to spit out his double-roast espresso. ‘While it made mistakes, there is little evidence that the WHO is responsible for the disasters that have unfolded in Europe and then the United States.’
The article offers a textbook case of missing the forest for the trees. The Times repeatedly allows supporters of the WHO to make excuses for its litany of failures during the early outbreak, such as failing to label COVID-19 a global health crisis and infamously tweeting on January 14 that the virus could not be spread through human-to-human transmission. WHO advocates admit that the organization was too trusting of China, but don’t mention that the WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus accused Trump of potentially creating ‘more bodybags’ after the president criticized China for lying about its number of cases and deaths as well as allowing people to travel outside of the country after it became clear the outbreak was not contained. Tedros has also praised China’s ‘transparency’. If the WHO was duped by China, wouldn’t they acknowledge that Trump was calling the CCP out for spreading misinformation? Alas, it appears not. And the Times doesn’t even bother to consider why.
A generous reader might think the WHO was just naive, or perhaps dealing with the red tape that often hamstrings large global institutions. But this would gloss over the organization’s recent relationship with the People’s Republic of China. Director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus won his position in 2017 with China’s backing, despite being the first WHO chief to not be a medical doctor and reportedly covering up three cholera epidemics while serving as Ethiopia’s health minister.
‘Chinese diplomats had campaigned hard for the Ethiopian, using Beijing’s financial clout and opaque aid budget to build support for him among developing countries,’ the Sunday Times of London reported at the time.
‘Tedros’s victory was also a victory for Beijing, whose leader Xi Jinping has made public his goal of flexing China’s muscle in the world,’ the Washington Post said.
Last week, the Times was at pains to admit that Republicans had some standing to criticize the WHO. Since then the paper has decided it’s easier to bury its head in the sand than to give credit to the GOP or Trump for identifying an obvious adversary to US public health. Then, of course, there’s the nagging fact that the Times has repeatedly carried advertisements and physical inserts for China Daily, the propaganda arm of the Communist party of China. That might explain its frankly bizarre headline about China’s economic slump: ‘China’s economy shrinks, just when the world needs its punch,’ the paper announced, before quickly changing to a more neutral headline.
The Gray Lady’s failure to confront the unpalatable ideas that Trump might be right, that China lied, and that the WHO is suspiciously subservient to China, suggests more of a loyalty to failing global institutions and Beijing than to the Americans who buy its newspapers expecting the truth.