NBC Insists Governments Have ‘Moral Authority’ to Keep You Isolated

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Disturbing and authoritarian tendencies were on full display during Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News, as anchor Lester Holt and reporter Gabe Gutierrez decried a gathering of mourning orthodox Jews in New York City recently. And despite cries of anti-Semitism against Mayor Bill de Blasio, the network suggested state and local governments had the “moral authority” to crackdown on public and private gatherings of any size.

In the age of social distancing, it was a shocking sight. Thousands of mourners in Brooklyn at a rabbi’s funeral,” Gutierrez exclaimed at the top of his report. “New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he’s instructing the NYPD to cite or arrest anyone who disobeys a social distancing order.”

Arresting people for interacting was an unsettling concept for NBC to promote. Especially since they did it the same day video surfaced of Wisconsin police writing up a mother for letting her daughter visit the neighbor’s house.

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After being appalled by homeless people seeking shelter on the New York City subway system, Gutierrez touted the state’s increased fines. “New York State recently raised the maximum fine to $1,000. Now, some towns in Massachusetts are doing the same for face coverings,” he said.

Gutierrez followed up by wondering: “What authority do these cities have to really enforce social distancing?” That question was directed to Obama-era CDC director, Tom Frieden, who cranked up the call for greater government control. “The most important authority any community has is moral authority, understanding that by distancing not only are you protecting yourself but others, also,” he declared.

 

 

It was such an authoritarian view considering that, over the weekend, de Blasio was caught outside in a Brooklyn park, nowhere near where he lived and with many people around. A blatant case of ‘do as I say, not as I do.’ And earlier in the crisis, the Mayor was also caught visiting a YMCA after he had told people not to go to the gym.

If ambiguous “moral authority” was all that was needed, NBC may have been applying a double standard when it came to President Trump’s orders.

For two days, NBC Nightly News had been decrying Trump’s executive order under the Defense Production Act to supposedly forcing meat processing plants to stay open. A move intended to keep the food supply chain from breaking down, get relief to farmers, and keep Americans fed. But NBC had mostly scorn:

BLAYNE ALEXANDER: Smithfield and Tyson Foods are praising the President’s order. But many workers are not.

(…)

ALEXANDER: With more than 5,000 workers I’m packed by COVID-19, unions are demanding protections including more testing.

EDGAR FIELDS (union rep): How much is a life worth as opposed to beef, pork, and chicken? That is the decision that we have to make because that worker makes it every day when they go to work.

What went unmentioned was how the order reportedly included protective equipment form the federal government.

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

NBC Nightly News
April 29, 2020
7:05:55 p.m. Eastern

LESTER HOLT: Now to some dramatic scenes of people defying orders to keep their distance. And tonight, the debate intensifying over how to enforce social distancing. Here’s Gabe Gutierrez.

[Cuts to video]

GABE GUTIERREZ: In the age of social distancing, it was a shocking sight. Thousands of mourners in Brooklyn at a rabbi’s funeral.

DERMOT SHEA (NYPD commissioner): You are putting my cops’ lives at risk, and it’s unacceptable.

GUTIERREZ: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he’s instructing the NYPD to cite or arrest anyone who disobeys a social distancing order.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO: No, it’s not like people gathering in the park, it was thousands of people.

GUTIERREZ: More images are also surfacing of the homeless sleeping on New York’s subway system. The governor is now asking the transit authority to disinfectant every train every night.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO: It’s disrespectful to the essential workers who need to ride the subway system.

GUTIERREZ: From beaches to California to this house party in Chicago, local governments are struggling to crackdown on social distancing orders. New York State recently raised the maximum fine to $1,000. Now, some towns in Massachusetts are doing the same for face coverings.

What authority do these cities have to really enforce social distancing?

DR. TOM FRIEDEN (former CDC director): The most important authority any community has is moral authority, understanding that by distancing not only are you protecting yourself but others, also.

GUTIERREZ: In many metro areas, walking on the sidewalk it’s tough to stay six feet away from anyone. So, New York City is planning to close off at least 40 miles of streets to vehicles and free up more space for pedestrians.

The death toll here at the epicenter is topping 300 every day. Zoey Mengen was a beloved teacher in Brooklyn, who died after a six-week battle with COVID-19. Her sister, a nurse herself, says she was denied a coronavirus test twice.

(…)

GUTIERREZ: A system stretched to its limits. Earlier this week, E.R. Dr. Lorna Breen took her own life.

(…)

7:10:18 p.m. Eastern

HOLT: Now to the nation’s food supply and fallout from the President ordering meat plants to stay open as many of their workers fall ill and consumers could be hit by higher prices and fewer options. Here’s Blayne Alexander.

[Cuts to video]

BLAYNE ALEXANDER: Tonight, a food supply chain strained by COVID-19.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It was a bottleneck caused by this whole pandemic.

ALEXANDER: Now, relief, the President says, in the form of his executive order invoking the Defense Production Act ordering all meat plants to stay open, dubbing them “critical infrastructure.” More than a dozen forced to shut down as COVID-19 spread among employees. Now, President Trump says those companies will get liability protection.

TRUMP: They were being very unfairly treated. Very unfairly treated. So, the farmers are very happy and the ranchers and the companies.

ALEXANDER: Smithfield and Tyson Foods are praising the President’s order. But many workers are not.

(…)

ALEXANDER: With more than 5,000 workers I’m packed by COVID-19, unions are demanding protections including more testing.

EDGAR FIELDS (union rep): How much is a life worth as opposed to beef, pork and chicken? That is the decision that we have to make because that worker makes it every day when they go to work.

ALEXANDER: Now, new concerns about panic buying. Experts predict up to a month of lag time before the order makes an impact at the grocery store. Until then, some products may run low.

PAULA SCHELLING (American Federation of Government Employees): You’ll see some empty shelves in the meat and poultry counters, whether it is, you know, a rack of ribs, or if it is a bratwurst, or if it is a summer sausage.

ALEXANDER: Meaning, fewer selections but the supply experts say is stable. Blayne Alexander, NBC news, Atlanta.



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