Republican Rep. Devin Nunes was in cleanup mode, but you'd never know it by reading Susan Jones' March 17 article about him:
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) says there's no reason for Americans to be standing in long lines for food when there is no shortage of it in this country.
Nunes blamed the media for stoking panic that produces crowded grocery stores at a time when health experts are urging all of us to avoid crowds:
"These media freaks don't have a clue what's going on out in the real world," Nunes told Fox News's Sean Hannity Monday night.
We have a problem out here because we have people standing in line for 45 minutes at Costco. What I was saying is, you have empty restaurants. You can go through the drive-thru or do take-out. It's a great place to go.
The media freaks can do what they want. They are endangering lives here by continuing this panic when we have no food shortage in this country. The farmers of America produce an abundant food supply. We have more food than we can eat in this country. And We have to stop panicking and ensure that people know they don't have to wait in a line at Costco for 30, 45 minutes. They need to stay calm.
An actual news outlet, meanwhile, reported the context of Nunes' Fox News appearance:
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on Sunday morning urged people to go to bars and restaurants, even while Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, was on other shows urging the opposite. Trump then on Monday echoed Fauci, saying the administration was urging people to “avoid discretionary travel and avoid eating and drinking at bars, restaurants and public food courts.”
That left Nunes with some cleanup work to do. So he took to the friendly confines of Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, where he tried to suggest he was talking about takeout — not actually eating at the restaurant.
“So what I was saying is you have empty restaurants, you can go through the drive-through, you can do takeout. It’s a great place to go,” Nunes said. “The media freaks can do what they want, but they’re endangering lives here by continuing this panic when we have no food shortage in this country.”
It’s a clarification that might have been nice in the 36 hours between his initial comments and his Hannity interview, but Nunes’s office didn’t respond to multiple requests from The Washington Post for further comment.
It’s also a clarification that doesn’t really hold water.
In his comments on Fox News on Sunday morning, Nunes had this to say: “If you’re healthy — you and your family — it’s a great time to go out and go to a local restaurant. Likely you can get in easy. … Go to your local pub.”
So Jones wouldn't tell you that Nunes was on Fox News in an attempt to clean up earlier remarks. Instead, she acted like a good right-wing apparatchik, seizing on Nunes' "media freaks" diversionary comment to claim that "Examples of media hysteria play out daily on television, especially on the liberal cable networks."
One example of "hysteria" she cited was New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying on CNN, "You take any numerical projections on any of the models and our health care system has no capacity to deal with it. We in New York have 3,000 ICU beds. In case you don't understand, intensive care unit beds. We already use 60. We need multiples of that."
Given that Cuomo's predictions have largely borne out, shouldn't Jones apologize to him for falsely accusing him of engaging in "hysteria"?