- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 11, 2020

A self-quarantined Sen. Ted Cruz says reporters need to stop “self-parodying” political correctness in its coverage of the new coronavirus.

The Republican’s latest podcast, “The Verdict with Ted Cruz,” detailed how he was exposed to someone with the virus — now declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization — among other related issues.

Co-host Michael Knowles said that despite Mr. Cruz’s desire to stay above the political fray, it may be hard to do after observing cable news coverage.

“You probably didn’t watch MSNBC’s [coverage] here because you just used an absolutely forbidden phrase,” Mr. Knowles said Tuesday as the men discussed the virus’ history. “You pointed out that the virus originated in Wuhan, which left-wing commentators have been saying is now racist to observe the origins of the virus. Your take?”

“There are times when the media becomes self-parodying,” Mr. Cruz replied. “That’s a great example of it. One of the reasons that this virus spread so rapidly and has been so difficult to contain is that early on the communist government in China did not want to be public about it. So, they held quiet. They suppressed information. Look, we know that the communist government of China has a long history of lying, that they’re not to be trusted to begin with. So, the stats I gave you of 80,000 confirmed cases of the virus and deaths in China — over 3,000 deaths in China — that’s based on what the communist government is telling us. Those numbers could be much, much worse.”

Mr. Cruz said that while China may rely on “state propaganda” to deal with the virus, Americans should avoid petty partisan politics and instead opt for logic and reason.

“You see both sides trying to jockey for advantage,” he said. “We ought to be calm and sober-minded. We ought to be driven by the facts. We ought to be driven by the science. We ought to be listening to the medical professionals.”

The Texas Republican added that although there have been 4,000 deaths worldwide and the virus is “quite infectious,” the most at-risk individuals appear to be “older people, and particularly older people who have other significant health issues.”

“I think the president, the Trump administration, perhaps the most important decision that was made early on the outset of this outbreak was to shut off commercial air travel to and from China,” Mr. Cruz said. “To shut off both air travel and, for Americans coming home, to quarantine them and have screening. That was an unprecedented step.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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