Dr. Scott Atlas defends federal government, blasts mainstream media over coronavirus misinformation

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Dr. Scott W. Atlas, a former special adviser to President Trump, blasted the mainstream media for pushing misinformation that allows Americans to falsely believe the federal government is responsible for all coronavirus-related issues. 

"America has been paralyzed by death and fear for nearly a year, and the politicization of the pandemic has made things worse by adding misinformation and vitriol to the mix. With vaccines finally being administered, we should be entering a joyous phase. Instead we endure still more inflammatory rhetoric and media distortion," Atlas wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday.

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Atlas, who served as an adviser to Trump from August through November, said Americans need to understand "three realities" in order to understand the federal government’s role in combatting the coronavirus pandemic.

"First, all 50 states independently directed and implemented their own pandemic policies," he wrote, specifying that the federal government is not responsible for school closings, shelter-in-place orders or mask requirements.

"Second, nearly all states used the same draconian policies that people now insist on hardening, even though the number of positive cases increased while people’s movements were constrained, business activities were strictly limited, and schools were closed," Atlas continued. "Governors in all but a few states—Florida and South Dakota are notable exceptions—imposed curfews, quarantines, directives on group gatherings, and mask mandates."

Atlas cited Gallup and YouGov data that indicates "80% to 90% of Americans have been wearing masks since early August," but the virus spread anyway, so anyone who orders additional lockdowns isn’t looking at results.

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"Third, the federal government’s role in the pandemic has been grossly mischaracterized by the media and their Democratic allies," Atlas wrote. "That distortion has obscured several significant successes, while undermining the confidence of ordinary Americans."

Altas said "federal financial support and directives enabled the development of a massive, state-of-the-art testing capacity and produced billions of dollars of personal protective equipment," while federal agencies met all requests for supplemental medical personnel and hospital-bed capacity. He listed a variety of federal government accomplishments, including increasing the protection of the elderly and "expedited development and delivery of lifesaving drugs."

He then declared that any post-vaccine lockdowns will essentially be "doubling down" on policies that didn’t work the first time.  

"States and cities that keep their economies locked down after highly vulnerable populations have been vaccinated will be doubling down on failed policies that are destroying families and sacrificing children, particularly among the working class and poor," he wrote.  "The media has done its best to misinform the public with political attacks about who is to blame for this pain and misery even as it diminishes the great achievement of the new vaccines."

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He wrote that "the decline of objectivity in journalism has been evident for years" and now even top scientific journals are "contaminated" by politics.

"It is not at all clear that American society with its cherished freedoms will survive, regardless of our success in defeating the pandemic threat," Atlas wrote.

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