Although the World Health Organization has cautioned leaders against stigmatizing an area or ethnic group by using it as the name of a disease, Trump has repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese Virus.”
Chanel Rion, a correspondent for One America News Network — a small cable network known as the outlet for people who think Fox News is too liberal — decided to take “whataboutism” to its breaking point by asking Trump a softball question.
“Do you consider the use of the term ‘Chinese food’ racist? Because it’s food that originates in China and has roots in China?” Rion asked.
But she didn’t stop there, not when there were other dubious right-wing conspiracy theories to promote:
And on that note. Major left-wing news media, even in this room, have teamed up with Chinese Communist Party narratives, and they are claiming that you are racist for making these claims about Chinese virus.
Is it alarming that major media players, just to oppose you, are consistently siding with foreign state propaganda, Islamic state radicalism, Latin gangs and cartels. And they work right here at the White House with direct access to you and your team.
Trump seemed to appreciate the opportunity to respond to a question that allowed him to bash the media for asking him relevant questions about how his administration is handling the coronavirus crisis.
“It amazes me when I read the things that I read. It amazes me when I read The Wall Street Journal, which is so negative,” he said, taking the opportunity to also bash The New York Times and The Washington Post.
Trump then accused the press of using “different slogans and different concepts almost every week trying to catch something.”
After the president claimed that the press was dishonest, Rion chimed in, “They’re more than dishonest, they’re siding with state propaganda,” according to Mediaite.
But some Twitter users thought Rion sounded like the person siding with state propaganda.
These right-wing media outlets want to bash China and bow to Trump, but they ironically sound exactly like Chinese state media groveling to Xi Jinping https://t.co/qnhaoz8mLf
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) March 19, 2020
In fact, others noticed that Rion has been known to spread Chinese propaganda herself, such as a dubious conspiracy theory that COVID-19 was “genetically engineered as a Bio-Weapon at the Univ. of North Carolina BSL-3 Lab,” according to RawStory.
This is amazing. The reporter who just accused the media of spouting Chinese propaganda literally suggested coronavirus had come from the United States … which is a central claim of Chinese propaganda. https://t.co/x0inFfF2xF
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) March 19, 2020
Some people wondered if the exchange between Trump and Rion was planned in advance.
She was set up with that question, no doubt. Citing evil press coverage gave IQ45 one more chance to bemoan how he is treated in press coverage and to pahimself heartily on his own back for being so damned great, best ever. How does that arm stay in its socket??
— Onedayatatime (@lolapearl0521) March 19, 2020
That theory may have validity based on this tweet that Rion posted yesterday suggesting “fireworks” might happen at Thursday’s press briefing.
Media attacking @KellyannePolls on Pres. Trump’s use of “ChinaVirus” – insisting offense; omitting the fact China’s propaganda machine is currently BLAMING the US for THEIR virus.
Prepare for 11:30am fireworks watch @OANN
P.S. I’m Asian. Facts don’t offend.
— Chanel Rion OAN (@ChanelRion) March 18, 2020
After the exchange, Rion admitted that some of her media colleagues weren’t impressed, but, hey, she owned the libs, right?
Earlier this week, the White House defended using “Chinese Virus” to describe COVID-19, citing other examples such as the Spanish flu and the West Nile Virus as epidemics with location-based names. However, WHO has advised since 2015 to avoid naming diseases after places to “minimize unnecessary negative effects on nations, economies and people.”
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.