On March 19, a story that should’ve been a massive scandal broke. Congress members had been briefed on the threat of COVID-19 and while downplaying the threat to the American public, quietly shifted large amounts of their holdings into sectors that would benefit from the looming pandemic.
Senators Richard Burr, James Inhofe, Dianne Feinstein and Kelly Loeffler, whose husband serves as the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, used classified intelligence to put themselves in a position to profit off COVID-19, making it very clear they value their investment portfolios over American lives.
This is an act that should still be causing public outrage. The idea that elected officials would commit such an act is maddening, but what’s more maddening is the media’s sudden silence on the issue.
The “media” is far too often scapegoated and used as an easy excuse for the world’s ills. However, journalists are supposed to serve as watchdogs over governments and businesses when oversight is needed. The core function of a democracy includes freedom of the press for exactly this reason. The fact, that the last time The New York Times ran a story about this issue was two weeks ago is absolutely laughable. It took only 24 hours for the world's most prestigious newspaper to forgo all coverage of a scandal that should have ended in removal from office and prison time.
What these senators did is a revolting display of greed and corruption, but sadly it’s not earth-shattering news. Scandals like these are why in 2019 just 17% of Americans said they had trust in the federal government, an all-time low. However, public outrage and pressure over these situations can’t be expected to produce results, or even amount to anything, if the Times spent 24 hours on it and let it slide into oblivion.
National reporters are bravely covering the greatest global disaster we’ve seen in decades, but while fledgling local newspapers are laying off journalists and shutting their doors, the most trusted national outlets, who hold an air of superiority over local journalism that is arguably more valuable, are failing the public on this story.
The often derided media does deserve scrutiny in this situation. When this finally ends, millions of Americans may be dead, and these four senators stand to make millions off it. The deaths are certainly on their hands, but national journalism holds responsibility for the punishment that will never come.
Noah Wright is a junior studying strategic communication at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Noah? Tweet him @NoahCampaign.