President Trump publicly humiliated a Yahoo reporter Tuesday during an Oval Office meeting with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, after the reporter falsely claimed that South Korea has done five times more coronavirus tests than the Unites States per capita.
Yahoo reporter Hunter Walker is just the latest corporate media journalist to push an election year narrative that the Trump administration has botched its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Overall, South Korea has done five times more tests than the U.S. per capita,” Yahoo reporter Hunter Walker said. “Why is that?”
“I don’t think that’s true,” Trump replied, repeating, “I don’t think that’s true.” But the reporter insisted that his numbers were accurate.
“That is true!” Walker argued, certain that he had caught the president in a lie. “The White House said the U.S. passes South Korea in coronavirus testing, and that’s not true per capita,” he declared.
Trump handed the question over to Dr. Deborah Birx, who explained that the government pushed the test kits out to areas that were hit hardest by the virus.
“If you look at every single state that had an outbreak, their testing is greater there than anywhere in the world,” she said.
But Walker continued to argue. “Your point is taken about individual areas but overall we’ve had 14 times more infections than in South Korea, so are we doing something wrong?” he asked.
Birx said that the epidemic in the U.S. was tracking very closely with countries in Europe, showing “the susceptibility of our major cities.”
Later during the presser, she presented data that confirmed that his numbers were off.
“To the Yahoo gentleman, I just want to make it clear that South Korea’s testing was 11 per 100,000, and we’re at 17 per 100,000,” she said.
According to the COVID Tracking Project and CDC, as of April 28, the United States has tested 16,959 people for every one million residents, compared to 11,869 tests per one million people in South Korea.
“Are you going to apologize Yahoo? That’s why you’re ‘Yahoo’ and nobody knows who the hell you are,” Trump sneered. “Nobody knows who you are, including me.”
#Fakenews busted again: Trump & Dr. Birx puts the Media in its place with facts SK 11 per 100,000 U.S. 17 per 100,000: Trump spars with Yahoo reporter for getting key COVID testing data wrong | https://t.co/MxNsz02aKJ
— Luther (@bambamwv) April 28, 2020
In a half-hearted apology to the president on Twitter, Walker later explained that he had misread a chart, but continued to fixate on the U.S.’s higher infection rate.
“In the Oval Office, I asked about test rates and infection rates compared to South Korea. President Trump and Dr. Birx said I was wrong that they’ve done more tests per capita. Trump said I should apologize. They did not address multiple questions about our higher infection rate,” Walker tweeted after the exchange.
“We have passed South Korea in the number of tests conducted per capita. I misread the mobile version of this chart and am sorry about that @realDonaldTrump. Our infection rate is far higher though as I noted,” Walker added in a subsequent tweet.