CBS Claims More COVID-19 Deaths in U.S. Than Any Country

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

After the officially confirmed number of deaths caused by coronavirus in the United States passed those in Italy on Saturday, the evening networks rushed to questionably portray the U.S. as having the highest number of deaths without mentioning that the number of deaths in China is believed to be higher.

The networks also failed to put into context that the U.S. is the third most populated country in the world with about 330 million residents, making it not so surprising that there would be a relatively large of deaths compared to other countries, but, on a per capita basis, most countries in Western Europe have had higher per capita reported death rates from the virus than the U.S.

ABC was the only one of the three networks to even specify that the number of deaths was the "confirmed" number as Tom Llamas teased World News Tonight: "Tonight, the grim milestone. As we come on, America now the deadliest nation in confirmed coronavirus cases. More than 20,000 have died from COVID-19, the U.S surpassing Italy."

Introducing the first story, Llamas reiterated:

TOM LLAMAS: And we begin tonight with the disturbing milestone in this coronavirus pandemic -- the death toll in this country surpassing 20,000. That includes more than 2,000 lives lost in the last 24 hours -- America's deadliest day yet -- 783 deaths in New York alone. This latest surge pushing the U.S. total beyond the hard-hit Italy after already overtaking Spain, now the deadliest nation in COVID-19 fatalities.

Over on CBS, anchor Mia Gradney did not even use the word "confirmed" as she simply accepted the validity of the numbers without question: "Tonight, a grim new milestone -- the U.S. now leads the world in coronavirus deaths, more than 20,000 and counting."

Setting up the first report, she asserted: "Worldwide coronavirus deaths now top 107,000, and today the United States surpassed Italy as the country with the most deaths. So far, about 20,000 Americans have died."

On the NBC Nightly News, anchor Jose Diaz Balart similarly claimed: "Breaking tonight, the devastating toll of the coronavirus -- 2,000 Americans killed in one day -- more people have died now in the U.S. than any other country. … The U.S. reached a new grim milestone today -- more than 20,000 Americans dead by the virus, now the highest death toll in the world."

But it was already reported previously that China is believed to have "grossly underreported" its death toll from the virus to cover up how bad it was.

Additionally, if one takes the time to divided the reported number of deaths for each country by that country's population, the per capita death rates are so far higher in plenty of countries in Western Europe than they are for the U.S.

As of Sunday, April 12, the per capita number of deaths in the U.S. stands at 6.61 deaths per 100,000 residents, in contrast with the United Kingdom where the per capita death rate comes to 15.84 and, in France, where it is 21.48.

Below are transcripts of relevant portions of ABC's World News Tonight, the CBS Weekend News, and the NBC Nightly News:

ABC's World News Tonight:

TOM LLAMAS (in opening tease): Tonight, the grim milestone. As we come on, America now the deadliest nation in confirmed coronavirus cases. More than 20,000 have died from COVID-19, the U.S surpassing Italy.

(…)

And we begin tonight with the disturbing milestone in this coronavirus pandemic -- the death toll in this country surpassing 20,000. That includes more than 2,000 lives lost in the last 24 hours -- America's deadliest day yet -- 783 deaths in New York alone. This latest surge pushing the U.S. total beyond the hard-hit Italy after already overtaking Spain, now the deadliest nation in COVID-19 fatalities.

(…)

TREVOR ALT: Tonight, a grim milestone for the United States -- more than 20,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, this country now leading the world in reported deaths from the virus.

(…)

CBS Weekend News:

MIA GRADNEY (in opening tease): Tonight, a grim new milestone -- the U.S. now leads the world in coronavirus deaths, more than 20,000 and counting.

(…)

Worldwide coronavirus deaths now top 107,000, and today the United States surpassed Italy as the country with the most deaths. So far, about 20,000 Americans have died. 

About a third of all deaths have happened in New York. Today, the state's governor said those numbers are stabilizing, but at a, quote, "horrific rate."  Michael George is there and begins our coverage.

MICHAEL GEORGE: The country's largest gothic cathedral sits empty on this holy Saturday as New York City is ravaged by the coronavirus. New York state alone has more coronavirus cases than any country on Earth.

(…)

NBC Nightly News:

JOSE DIAZ BALART (in opening tease): Breaking tonight, the devastating toll of the coronavirus -- 2,000 Americans killed in one day -- more people have died now in the U.S. than any other country.

(…)

The U.S. reached a new grim milestone today -- more than 20,000 Americans dead by the virus, now the highest death toll in the world.

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