Steerpike

The New York Times’ orgy of British despair

The New York Times’ orgy of British despair
New York Times (photo: iStock)
Text settings
Comments

The New York Times seems to have developed a strange view of Britain in recent years – or at least since the Brexit vote in 2016. In the NYT’s world, the UK is a desolate place, where locals huddle round bin fires on the streets of London, gnawing on legs of mutton and cavorting in swamps during the summer, ever fearful of the despot Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

So Mr S was not exactly surprised to see that the paper’s latest missive from the Covid frontline in Britain, published today, veered on the negative side, detailing the ‘crushing onslaught of a pandemic’ in hospitals, in what can only be described as an orgy of British despair.

Admittedly, Britain’s Covid death toll has been dreadful, and this has taken a huge toll on those fighting the disease. But even then, the paper can’t seem to stop itself from going too far.

Mr S notes, for example, that the piece makes a sly dig at those in Britain who believe things may go back to normal and have been ‘seduced by unlikely promises and invented deadlines of redemption’. But when readers hoping for evidence of this click on the Times’ link, it takes them to an out-of-date article chiding Brits for going to the beach during the summer. Never mind, of course, that there have been no outbreaks linked to crowded beaches in the UK, which were made to looked more packed by photographers using telephoto lenses.

The Times’ also seems to have missed a trick when it comes to the impact vaccinations are having on Covid hospitalisations, which have fallen dramatically in February. Instead the piece decides to focus on the small number of anti-vaxxers in Britain who believe Bill Gates wants to inject them with microchips and then goes on to imply that Britain’s one dose vaccine strategy is endangering lives in care homes.

The paper’s social media account highlighted one part of the piece which went further, suggesting that the recent drop in infections and hospitalisations in Britain is ‘due to lockdown, not vaccination’. Somewhat bizarrely this claim was based on Imperial modelling from mid-February. Clearly, the NYT missed the news that hospitalisations are dropping at a faster rate in older, vaccinated age groups, clearly suggesting that the shots are having an impact.

Still, what harm could there possibly be in indulging in a bit of vaccine-scepticism, as long as it involves doing down Britain?

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk.

Comments
Topics in this articleSocietynew york timescovidvaccine