alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.

NYT slammed for 'terminal both-sides-ism' after reporting on Trump’s household disinfectant suggestion

President Donald J. Trump, joined by White House Coronavirus Task Force Response Coordinator Deborah Birx, delivers remarks during a coronavirus update briefing Saturday, April 18, 2020, in the James S. Brady White House Press Briefing Room. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

At his nightly coronavirus press briefing on Thursday, April 23, President Donald Trump suggested that household disinfectants such as Lysol could be ingested as a way to ward off coronavirus — an idea so dangerous that the manufacturers of Lysol, Reckitt Benckiser, had to warn users that their product should only be used as a disinfectant and should not be ingested under any circumstances. Trump is being lambasted on Twitter for making such a ridiculous suggestion — and some Twitter users are slamming the New York Times for going too far to achieve balance when reporting on it.


Twitter user @PaulWuster implied that what was real-life reporting from the New York Times on Trump’s press conference was the sort of parody that would be made up by “the staff of The Onion.” And @RemmieYeo, similarly, tweeted, “It’s like The Onion came to life to satirize 19th century America in the 21st.”

Trump repeatedly claims that the New York Times has a vendetta against him. But as some Twitter users see it, the Times went way overboard in its effort to be even-handed.

@BoiseJim7, quoting the Times, posted, “’Dangerously in the view of some experts’”- what the hell is wrong with your paper? It’s dangerous period! That’s an objective fact, not an opinion! Holy hell!” And @cluebcke described the Times’ reporting as “terminal both-sides-ism,” while @RationalWiki asked the Times, “Sirs, could you please detail for us the editorial process that leads to both-sidesing drinking bleach? Thank you.”

@DavMicRot wrote, “Cannot believe I need to write this, but: Despite what the @nytimes implies here in their pathetic attempt at False Equivalency, *ALL* experts agree that injecting yourself with bleach will kill you. So, do not listen to the President, it will kill you.

@Jmatonak sarcastically posted, “bleach keeps you young, so i've been told 'cause nobody who drinks it lives to get old!” And David Rothschild, @DavMicRot, tweeted, “Cannot believe I need to write this, but: Despite what the @nytimes implies here in their pathetic attempt at False Equivalency, *ALL* experts agree that injecting yourself with bleach will kill you. So, do not listen to the President, it will kill you.”

According to @gilmored85, “If you can’t state unequivocally that injecting yourself with disinfectants is bad, you have no business in journalism.”

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close