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Why let the truth get in the way of a good story – or a Twitter opportunity?
That seemed to be MSNBC host Chris Hayes’ thinking Wednesday evening when he shared what he described as a “cynical interpretation” of a comment President Trump made regarding the coronavirus outbreak.
Hayes retweeted a video in which Trump is seen talking to reporters about the projected U.S. death toll from the virus, also known as COVID-19.
“If we can stay substantially under 100,000 [U.S. deaths], which was the original projection, I think we did a very good job,” the president says.
Hayes then shares the “interpretation” that the 100,000 figure may have been deliberately inflated.
“The most cynical interpretation of all this, one I can’t quite bring myself to accept, is they rolled out the model showing 100k deaths after they knew it would be less than that so they could anchor everyone to that # and take a victory lap when ‘only’ tens of thousands died,” Hayes writes.
What Hayes leaves out, however, is whether anyone aside from himself had been floating that “interpretation.”
The tweet quickly drew pans from many commenters.
“Keep your chin up, Chris,” one Twitter user wrote, “we may still have 100k deaths.”
“And the media pivot from ‘Millions will die because of Trump’s response’ to ‘He’s over selling deaths to take a victory lap when it’s lower’ has begun,” another wrote.
“Thought conspiracy theories got you kicked off of twitter,” a third person remarked.
“The most cynical interpretation of all this, one I can’t quite bring myself to accept, is Chris Hayes is finding a way to blame Trump for not reaching 100,000 Coronavirus deaths,” another wrote.
Some respondents noted that Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx had noted in news briefings that U.S. officials were looking to bring the death count significantly lower than the 100,000 projection, as Trump had mentioned.
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes is concerned that President Trump will release an inaccurate transcript.
Mediaite reported that Hayes “sorta-kinda” backpedaled in a subsequent tweet.
“I think I’d distinguish between the integrity of the model and the good faith reasons for them using,” he wrote in a reply, “the macabre strangeness of it as this very explicit benchmark of ‘success’ that he articulates over and over as thousands of ppl die.”