GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (ChurchMilitant.com) - CBS News is being exposed for shooting and airing unethical video of a staged Wuhan virus testing line in Michigan.
Media watchdog group Project Veritas is busting the national news network for shooting video supposedly of patients waiting in line to be tested for coronavirus at Cherry Health medical facility in Grand Rapids. The line, however, contained only one or two actual patients while the rest were simply Cherry Health workers told to pose as patients.
Project Veritas' communication manager Neil McCabe told Church Militant he believes the CBS crew colluded with a Cherry Health office manager to stage the false testing line.
"My sense now is that the CBS crew that filmed the COVID-19 drive-thru testing line told the office manager that they needed more cars," said McCabe.
The footage was used in a CBS report about Michigan's inability to test patients for the Wuhan virus that aired Friday on "CBS This Morning."
"Their story was about the failure of the Trump administration to support testing in Michigan," McCabe remarked. "So, if there were the one or two cars in line that our insider told us were usually there, well, that does not support the narrative."
After Project Veritas aired its report, CBS on Wednesday removed the section of the report that pertained to Cherry Health.
A now-former employee of Cherry Health who witnessed the staged shoot firsthand tipped off Project Veritas. Alarmed by the unethical nature of the shoot, he contacted Project Veritas, who shipped him a hidden camera.
"After our insider contacted us," explained McCabe, "we express shipped him a hidden camera that he used to speak to the people who participated in the fake drive-thru COVID-19 testing line."
The insider used the hidden camera to interview fellow employees about the fake news event.
He captured the following responses from various Cherry Health employees discussing the fake shoot.
"We could have done other stuff," complained one registered nurse.
A Cherry Health supervisor commented, "Apparently, the news crew wanted more people in the line."
"We pretended," admitted another registered nurse. "There were a couple of real patients, which made it worse."
CBS isn't denying the shoot was staged but puts the blame on Cherry Health. The network's statement reads:
These allegations are deeply disturbing. We reached out to Cherry Health to address them immediately. They informed us for the first time that one of their chief officers told at least one staffer to get in the testing line along with real patients. No one from CBS News had any knowledge of this prior to [Tuesday night].
Cherry Health initially stonewalled when asked whether its own staff did in fact help stage the waiting line by getting in line with their cars. Tasha Blackman, CEO of Cherry Health, finally gave an indirect answer.
"I did not instruct any of our staff to get in their cars as part of the line of vehicles," Blackman responded.
McCabe said truthful reporting by media is so important especially during the current pandemic when big decisions affecting millions of lives are highly influenced by media reports.
We shut down a $20 trillion-economy based on the information the media gave us. The stakes are economic, social but also medical. We will never know the real numbers, but COVID-19 has taken thousands of Americans, and many of them in horribly painful deaths. How can we move forward if the very data we get from the media is bogus?
Despite the nearly empty line at the Michigan test site, the state's governor, Gretchen Whitmer, has repeatedly blamed the Trump administration for not doing enough to enable states to increase testing for the Wuhan virus. She's also repeatedly stated that a key part of her decision on when to reopen the state is based on widespread testing of patients for the virus.
As an aside, presidential hopeful and former vice president Joe Biden in March visited Cherry Health, a community health center. He met Whitmer there and gave a speech while campaigning ahead of the Michigan primary.
"The expansion of community health centers was one of Obamacare's crowning achievements," said Biden.
Many people have discredited the undercover methods used by Project Veritas to expose corruption. McCabe, however, defended its work, saying insiders and undercover reporting are essential.
"Project Veritas relies on insiders, like the one who came forward at the Cherry Health clinic, to help us expose corruption in the media, government and wherever they see it," remarked McCabe. "We protect our sources. 'Be brave and do something' is our motto, and insiders can start by emailing us at: firstname.lastname@example.org."