NBC News' chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel on Wednesday criticized those targeting China over the spread of the coronavirus.
What are the details?
"It's easy to scapegoat people, and that is what has always happened when pandemics or epidemics ... foreigners are attacked, foreigners [are] sometimes physically attacked," Engel said on MSNBC. "If you look at what happened during the Middle Ages, there was lots and lots of scapegoating against an ethnic group or a religious group whenever there were pandemics that affected the society and frightened a lot of people. And China certainly feels that is what is happening now with people calling it the 'Wuhan flu' or the 'Wuhan virus' or the 'China virus.'"
President Donald Trump has been ripped by reporters for calling the coronavirus a "Chinese virus" — but as we've already seen, national TV journalists had been doing that very thing since the outbreak was first covered. In fact, in the following video mashup, Engel's peeps on NBC properties, CNBC and MSNBC, refer to the coronavirus using such language twice each:
But let us not quibble. Continuing with Engel's defense of China, he added for the cameras that "this is a virus that came from the territory of China but came from bats. This is a bat virus, not a China virus. It doesn't speak Chinese. It doesn't target Chinese people. It targets human beings who happen to touch their eyes, nose, or mouth."
Ben Shapiro has Engel for lunch
Once Engel's clip hit Twitter, the Daily Wire's editor in chief Ben Shapiro hit back hard with a brutal take.
"You have got to be f***ing kidding me," Shapiro wrote, redacting his own F-bomb. "The Chinese government destroyed evidence of the virus, allowed free travel of 5 million people from the Wuhan region, and censored doctors who talked about it."
Others ripped Engel as well:
- Dave Rubin remarked, "To quote @DouglasKMurray, 'One day the barbarians will be at the gate and we'll be debating what gender pronouns to call them.'"
- Alberto E. Martinez, former chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), tweeted that "this is take from MSNBC (and repeated in WH briefing room by ABC and others) is so legitimately unhinged that China exerting influence/control over the American multinationals that own our media companies no longer seems like that much of a conspiracy theory."
- Commentator Stephen L. Miller tweeted that "the Chinese government deleted lab work and samples and intimidated their doctors to cover up any trace of it while also lying to the World Health Organization. I'm fine calling it a Chinese Government Virus as well. NBC has been on the front lines pushing PRC propaganda."
Oh, and Engel already has let his feelings about Trump be known
Last August, Engel appeared on "Real Time with Bill Maher" during which he agreed with the host's strident desire for a recession in order to get Trump out of office.
"Short-term pain might be better than long-term destruction of the Constitution," Engel said.
"Yes, right!" Maher answered. "Thank you very much."