Having already endured one wave of panic buying, driven in large part by breathless media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, EWTN White House correspondent Owen Jensen may have just set the stage for another run on the stores.
As if the American people are not enduring enough hardship in the face of what has become an unprecedented national emergency, Jensen asked President Trump about shutting down everything — to include grocery stores and restaurants offering to-go services.
“So why even have a few businesses open? Why don’t they shut everything down? Groceries stores are open, fast food places — why even take a little chance? Just shut all of it down temporarily,” the global Catholic network reporter asked Sunday.
Video: As many people have already pointed out on here, a reporter actually asked Trump about shutting down essential businesses like grocery stores. Seriously.
Here that was. pic.twitter.com/Eg4uJ9v52G
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) April 6, 2020
“We’ll answer that question later,” Trump responded. “All I can say is that right now, things are looking really good and opening up with a bang will be a great thing. And there’s nobody gonna be happier than me.”
The harm in the reporter’s question is that it adds to the possibility of panic, as some people read between the lines and run with assumptions.
Friend texted me:
“Make sure you go to the store and get whatever you need. Our peak is starting this week. Reporters are suggesting to shutdown all grocery stores (they are insane). Pray for our world. Do not cease.”
— Anna Khait (@Annakhait) April 6, 2020
Dubbed “30 Days To Slow The Spread,” the Trump administration implemented social distancing guidelines that run until the end of April, and most states are under stay-at-home orders, with non-essential businesses closed down.
Grocery stores have reduced their hours of operation to allow for more time to clean and restock shelves, and many are reserving the first hour of business on select days for elderly shoppers, who are most vulnerable to the Wuhan virus.
These stores have yet to recover from the first wave of panic-buying, as many shelves are still only partially stocked. A wave that occurred for no real reason other than fear, given that there isn’t a problem with the supply chain so much as there is with people buying product faster than the stores can restock shelves.
On March 15, President Trump urged Americans not to hoard food.
“You don’t have to buy so much,” the president said at a White House briefing. “Take it easy. Relax.”
“We have no shortages, other than people are buying anywhere from three to five times what they would normally buy,” he insisted. “There’s no need for anybody in the country to hoard essential food supplies.”
Trump explained that he had a conference call with executives from major retailers and grocery companies, including Walmart, Costco and Target.
“They have asked me to say, ‘Could you buy a little bit less please.’” he said. “I thought I would never hear that from a retailer.”
Social media users were quick to react to Jensen’s irresponsible inquiry, and readers are cautioned that the language wasn’t always nice.
Here’s a sampling of responses from Twitter:
One reporter is pressing President Trump to shut down grocery stores, pharmacies etc. – shut down EVERYTHING.
So how do people live? Eat? Get their medicines?
The democrat media complex would have us all kill ourselves but hey – we wouldn’t have died from corona.
— Pamela Geller (@PamelaGeller) April 6, 2020
I cannot believe that a journalist suggested closing down grocery stores. My craft is peopled by absolute fucking morons.
— Alan Poirier (@alan_poirier) April 6, 2020
What a real asswipe! Hopefully he will be fired? Not a chance!
— Nils Sanborn (@NilsComputers) April 6, 2020
Why aren’t grocery stores closed asks the no longer essential employee.
— check yo self before you infect yo self (@wakeywakey16) April 6, 2020
And they say there are no stupid questions.
— Kyle Wheeler (@HVPSpirit) April 6, 2020
Some people just aren’t suffering enough for some people.
— Caroline (@CarolineBjorkl1) April 6, 2020
Starvation. The Green New Deal way of dealing with supposed overpopulation.
— tobikiriakujin (@tobikiriakujin) April 6, 2020
WuFlu can’t infect anyone if we all starve to death first. pic.twitter.com/0X5FOpmokP
— Ryan Billabee (@GovBillabee) April 6, 2020
That guy would be the first to pitch a fit if his favorite Starbucks opened 5 mins late.
— Tami (@Tamiisright) April 6, 2020
Because they want the headline and if Trump says anything that remotely lead to a panic they will do everything they can to promote panic. The MSM wants panic.
— Brian Grayson (@djslybri) April 6, 2020
The media will starve people if it’ll destroy Trump 🙄😢
— Carole Justice (@carolejustice) April 6, 2020
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