Mike Pompeo, Proud Antagonist of the U.S. Press, Calls Out China For Stifling Media Coverage of Coronavirus
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday accused China and Iran of suppressing information on the coronavirus outbreak, demanding that they “tell the truth” about the spread of the virus.
At a State Department press conference reported by AP, Pompeo called out China regarding their media coverage and response to coronavirus: “Had China permitted its own and foreign journalists and medical personnel to speak and investigate freely, Chinese officials and other nations would have been far better prepared to address the challenge.”
Pompeo also criticized China for expelling three Wall Street Journal reporters who were based in Beijing. The reporters were banished from the country in retaliation for one of the paper’s opinion pieces, which referred to China as “the real sick man of Asia.”
“Expelling our journalists exposes once again the government’s issue that led to SARS and now the coronavirus, namely censorship. It can have deadly consequences,” Pompeo said. “All nations, including Iran, should tell the truth about the coronavirus and cooperate with international aid organizations.”
Despite Pompeo extolling the virtue of a free press abroad, he has come under heavy criticism in the United States for his treatment of the media.
In January NPR’s All Things Considered co-host Mary Louise Kelly claimed Pompeo erupted during an interview, cursing her out and absurdly asking for her to locate Ukraine on a map.
Pompeo later removed NPR diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen from his plane — a move that was widely labeled an act of retaliation.
When asked about the incident, Pompeo stated, “It’s a perfect message about press freedoms.”
Pompeo also came under fire when the White House was accused of restricting access to the transcripts of telephone calls between Donald Trump and several world leaders.
“Right now, I think there is a cover-up of the cover-up,” said Nancy Pelosi, referencing a whistleblower report in which White House officials were accused of locking down a transcript of a call between Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and Trump.
In addition to these incidents, Pompeo works for an administration that has repeatedly gone after journalists. Trump has infamously referred to the media as “the enemy of the people,” amongst a consistent barrage of other anti-press rhetoric.
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