- The Washington Times - Friday, July 17, 2020

CNN host Jake Tapper on Thursday scolded reporters for cherry-picking a quote from White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany that appeared to reject “the science” in favor of reopening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms. McEnany told reporters earlier Thursday that science was on the “side” of the Trump administration in reopening schools in the fall at full capacity.

“The science should not stand in the way of this,” she said. “And as Dr. Scott Atlas said — I thought this was a good quote — ‘Of course, we can [do it]. Everyone else in the … Western world, our peer nations are doing it. We are the outlier here.

“The science is very clear on this, that — you know, for instance, you look at the JAMA Pediatrics study of 46 pediatric hospitals in North America that said the risk of critical illness from COVID is far less for children than that of seasonal flu,” she continued. “The science is on our side here, and we encourage for localities and states to just simply follow the science, open our schools.”

Multiple mainstream media outlets and reporters, including CNN’s own Jim Acosta, seized on Ms. McEnany’s comment about science not standing “in the way.”

Mr. Tapper first clarified the comment while speaking on his show Thursday with CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who said the quote “sounded like an alternative facts sort of moment.”

“Well, I think she was trying to argue — if I could just say, Sanjay,” Mr. Tapper interjected, “I think she was just trying to say that the science shouldn’t stand in the way because the science is on our side.

“I don’t know that all of the science is on their side,” he added. “And certainly this White House, their respect for science knows bounds. Let’s put it that way. But I think that’s what she was getting at.”

Mr. Tapper also addressed the issue to his 2.6 million Twitter followers.

“Folks read the ENTIRE McEnany comment about ‘the science should not stand in the way’ of opening schools,” he tweeted. “She’s arguing that the science is on the side of those who want to open them, she cites a JAMA study. I’m not taking a position on the matter but be fair.

“Before the familiar voices jump on this to score whatever political points they want, the facts are also clear that the president has ignored science and health experts far too many times and the US response is empirically a failure compared to the rest of the Western world,” he added.

Ms. McEnany also addressed the controversy on Twitter, calling it a “Case Study in Media Bias.”

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