There are few examples of media bias more clear than the reaction seen to a study linking the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota to more than 250,000 cases of coronavirus.
The state, led by Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, was one of the few states in America that did not fully lock down and has been held up as an example of trusting residents to do the right thing.
Noem appeared on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday morning to dispute the claim that the rally was a “superspreader” event, calling the IZA Institute of Labor Economics study “fiction.”
The event took place last month and drew well over 400,000 visitors, and researchers from the University of Colorado Denver, Bentley University, University of California San Diego and San Diego State University conducted a study using anonymized data from cellphones from those who attended to help produce an estimate of new cases.
“That’s actually not factual whatsoever,” she said of the results. “What they did is they took a snapshot in time and did a lot of speculation and did some back-of-the-napkin math and made up some numbers and published them. This study wasn’t even done by a healthcare study.”
The governor said the media reaction is frustrating because she knows they don’t like the way she runs the state.
“They have deemed me as the governor that made all the wrong decisions by letting my people have freedom, by using personal responsibility,” Noem said.
As for having big events, Noem stressed that there have been other large events in the state, as she shared the number of cases they have that are tied to Sturgis.
“We have in South Dakota 124 cases that were tied to the Sturgis motorcycle bike rally out of half a million people that came,” she said. “So what they have done here is completely false and it’s unfair and it’s not doing the public service.”
When asked if there have been other organizations tracking the Sturgis event, Noem said other states are tracking cases and the numbers are less than 300 cases.
“That is really what’s wrong with this study … that the media jumped all over, is the kind of speculation that they put out there, the inaccuracies are just unfair, and not truthful whatsoever,” she added.
Inaccuracies that South Dakota has had to deal with throughout the pandemic, the governor said.
“On a typical day in the pandemic the models and experts all told me I’d have 10,000 people in the hospital on any given day, and I’ve had less than 100,” Noem said. “The vast majority of the days I have less than 100 people in the hospital to date.
“So we’re taking the virus seriously,” she continued, “But we’re also recognizing that there’s consequences to what we’ve seen happen in other states. That shutting down businesses, stopping people’s way of life has some devastating impacts on them and their ability to put food on the table for their families.”
Noem said she fully expects the media to continue coming after her and her decision making, but that the residents in her state appreciate the trust.
“They appreciate the fact that I trusted them and we have the strongest economy in the nation today,” the Republican governor said. “Our people are working, they’re taking care of their families, and they recognize that we’ve weathered this situation much better than the rest of the country.”
Author: Tom Tillison