For Memorial Day


This New York Times front page (figure 1) is popping up all over Twitter:
Fig. 1. New York Times front page for May 24, 2020, via Twitter, fair use.

I tend to be highly critical of the Times. I unsubscribed when I felt their coverage of the 2016 election had been slanted much too much in Hillary Clinton’s favor at the expense of Bernie Sanders. Margaret Sullivan was critical of that coverage,[1] but though she is now at the Washington Post, the Times seems to have heeded her advice not to normalize COVID-19 deaths.[2] This is to their credit.

It’s worth remembering that the “confirmed cases” count is almost certainly an undercount.[3] It’s also worth remembering that Donald Trump was more interested in protecting the stock market and his reelection chances than in protecting U.S. citizens and that he has peddled quack cures to that end.[4] Finally, it’s worth remembering that the entire political establishment has been complicit in refusing to provide adequate aid to enable people to stay home, which would have helped to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, and instead has rushed to reopen.[5]

  1. [1]Margaret Sullivan, “Has The Times Dismissed Bernie Sanders?” New York Times, September 9, 2015,
  2. [2]Margaret Sullivan, “Trump wants America to ‘normalize’ coronavirus deaths. It’s the media’s job not to play along,” Washington Post, May 10, 2020,
  3. [3]David Benfell, “We may die at home or we may die alone but we are surely dying,” Not Housebroken, April 28, 2020,; Emma Brown et al., “U.S. deaths soared in early weeks of pandemic, far exceeding number attributed to covid-19,” Washington Post, April 27, 2020,; Emma Brown, Beth Reinhard, and Aaron C. Davis, “Coronavirus death toll: Americans are almost certainly dying of covid-19 but being left out of the official count,” Washington Post, April 5, 2020,
  4. [4]Associated Press, “FDA warns against using the drugs that Trump touts for coronavirus,” Los Angeles Times, April 24, 2020,; David Benfell, “The dangerous and delusional raging narcissist-in-chief,” Not Housebroken, April 25, 2020,; Aaron Blake, “The timeline of Trump’s coronavirus response is increasingly damning,” Washington Post, April 7, 2020,; Allyson Chiu, Katie Shepherd, and Brittany Shammas, “Trump comments prompt doctors, and Lysol, to warn against injecting disinfectants,” Washington Post, April 24, 2020,; Dana Milbank, “For Trump, a reckoning has come,” Washington Post, February 28, 2020,; David Roth, “The Enduring Delusion of a Chastened Trump,” New Republic, April 3, 2020,; Aaron Rupar, “Trump and Fox News want to send their hydroxychloroquine hype down the memory hole,” Vox, April 22, 2020,; Anna Sanders and Chris Sommerfeldt, “A spike in New Yorkers ingesting household cleaners following Trump’s controversial coronavirus comments,” New York Daily News, April 24, 2020,; Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, “Health Dept. Official Says Doubts on Hydroxychloroquine Led to His Ouster,” New York Times, April 22, 2020,; David Von Drehle, “If Trump doesn’t like the coronavirus news now, he’ll hate what comes next,” Washington Post, March 10, 2020,; Paul Waldman, “How coronavirus has deeply flummoxed conservative media,” Washington Post, February 28, 2020,; Paul Waldman, “The real reason Trump is obsessed with hydroxychloroquine,” Washington Post, April 7, 2020,
  5. [5]David Benfell, “The capitalist death cult,” Not Housebroken, March 27, 2020,; David Benfell, “The worst of times and the worst of humanity,” Not Housebroken, April 2, 2020,; David Benfell, “I fear for our world,” Not Housebroken, April 9, 2020,; David Benfell, “Don’t just say #COVIDIOTS,” Not Housebroken, April 19, 2020,; David Benfell, “Elite priorities: Why social, animal, and environmental justice remains essential with COVID-19,” Not Housebroken, April 26, 2020,; David Benfell, “We may die at home or we may die alone but we are surely dying,” Not Housebroken, April 28, 2020,; David Benfell, “Yet again, a season for cynicism,” Not Housebroken, May 10, 2020,; David Benfell, “Surprise! Surprise! The capitalist god is greedy!” Not Housebroken, May 23, 2020,