This has gone far enough.
The Sun Herald and their ace reporter Anita Lee continued a disturbing series of COVID disinformation in recent weeks in her article yesterday after Governor Tate Reeves’ Thursday press conference.
In the first paragraph of the article, Lee wrote, “Gov. Tate Reeves continues to reject any mask mandates and refuses to directly ask residents to get vaccinated (emphasis added) as the COVID-19 delta variant disaster continues to escalate in Mississippi.”
However, there was one problem with Lee’s assertion regarding Reeves and vaccination. It isn’t true. It wasn’t mis-contextualized. It was simply false, and this isn’t the first time this has happened, which indicates there appears to be some intent behind the disinformation.
At 9:00 minutes in the press conference, Governor Reeves stated:
“As I mentioned the numbers earlier, more and more Mississippians are concluding that getting vaccinated is a good choice . . . a good choice not only for the people themselves but for the people around them. If you are not vaccinated yet, I hope you will talk to your doctor. I hope you will study the statistics. And I hope you will make your decision based upon the facts.”
Reeves went further to say that masking and social distancing for those that choose not to be vaccinated can help.
This is brand new data worth considering:
Further evidence that Risks associated with NOT getting vaccinated > Risks associated with getting vaccinated!
Make the right choice, Mississippi!! https://t.co/968vsuiZZn
— Governor Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) July 23, 2021
Apparently, the Sun Herald and Lee’s standard for Governor Reeves to sufficiently encourage vaccination is for him to be moaning and wailing on camera, prostrating himself in front of the media while they ritualistically flog him. That’s the media wanting to be the news, not wanting to merely report it.
Later in the press conference, the Governor spent several minutes in glowing terms on the recent rise in vaccinations, concluding that 3% of all Mississippians (90,000) got at least one shot in a week.
To say that Reeves isn’t encouraging (or even appropriately encouraging) vaccinations is just a willful denial of the facts. What’s more is that it’s dangerous. It further undermines COVID messaging hesitancy from vaccine hesitant individuals.
Even the most recent reporter at the Clarion Ledger disagreed with Lee in his headline that read, “Miss. Gov. Tate Reeves encourages COVID vaccines, doubles down on not issuing mandate”
Not to be deterred, the head of the MS Press Association went to Twitter last night with a can of digital spray paint to climb to the top of the water tower and defend Lee’s honor saying, “There is no one more true-to-the-mission of truth than (Anita Lee). She is the example on how it should be done. For everyone.”
I screwed this up on my first attempt, so here’s another go at it: There is no one more true-to-the-mission of truth than @CAnitaLee1. She is the example on how it should be done. For everyone. https://t.co/0thBbJRS3L
— Layne Bruce ? (@laynebruce) August 20, 2021
Except she’s not.
On August 4, Lee penned an article titled, “Where is Tate Reeves? Governor stays mostly silent as COVID skyrockets,” in which Lee chides the Reeves administration “remaining mostly silent” about COVID and not being accessible to the press. The article itself featured a quote from Reeves FOR THAT ARTICLE encouraging vaccinations: “Governor Reeves has publicly stated, time and time again, that he believes the vaccines are safe and effective. He has publicly encouraged Mississippians to get vaccinated, while still defending their right to decide what is best for them and their family.”
That same article also featured a tweet from less than two weeks earlier from Reeves encouraging vaccinations.
I called Lee and the Sun Herald out publicly, pointing to the video of the gaggle at the Neshoba County Fair from just days prior of Reeves (yet again) encouraging vaccinations in no uncertain terms.
This may be one of the worst articles about @tatereeves from the @sunherald I’ve ever seen. This headline appears clearly written before the story was assigned. https://t.co/fBj9QaF6so
— Alan Lange (@alan_lange) August 4, 2021
Here are more examples of Lee’s gaslighting.
In an article for the Daily Journal’s Caleb Bedillion . . .
“The fact is, every single Mississippian has had an opportunity to get the vaccine,” Reeves told reporters two weeks ago. “There are some who have chosen not to. I encourage them to do so.”
The issue appears less and less that the Sun Herald and Anita Lee don’t get it. It’s that they can’t sell it.
Look, I let a lot of stuff that I see in the media that I disagree with slide. A lot. If I did nothing but call out mainstream media on mistruths (usually borne of intent to advance an agenda), I literally would be able to do nothing else. But this article and this line of journalisming from Lee and the Sun Herald is so thoroughly and totally over the line, that something had to be said.
Again, there’s almost no policing “of their own” in mainstream print media circles. Maybe one of them publicly or privately will have the guts to call her out. I doubt it.
My best advice for Lee and everyone else is when they report something, attach the first source media to the story. It makes it damn near impossible not to play it straight.