‘We finished this year strong—maybe even stronger than ever before because of the … challenges that this pandemic caused and never quit safely serving our students…’
(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. was maliciously targeted for allowing students to return to the private evangelical university despite Wuhan virus stay-at-home orders, government-mandated business closures and mass-media hysteria.
The school year has now ended, and there hasn’t been a single positive case of the Wuhan virus on the Lynchburg, Virginia, campus—or anywhere in the region—that has been linked to the university’s students.
But don’t expect the news media to apologize.
“We finished this year strong—maybe even stronger than ever before because of the hard work of our administration, faculty, staff, and students who pushed through the challenges that this pandemic caused and never quit safely serving our students,” Falwell said in a statement last week.
“We are thankful to God that nobody who lived in a campus residence hall or who worked in a campus office tested positive for the virus,” he continued.
Like his iconic father, who founded the school in 1971 and later became a leader of the Moral Majority movement during the Ronald Reagan era, Falwell Jr. has proved a convenient target for the aggressively political mainstream news media.
His outspoken support for President Donald Trump coupled with the media’s persistent anti-Christian bias contributed to the nasty—and now provably inaccurate—reporting.
The Washington Post offered the headline, “Jerry Falwell Jr.’s coronavirus response shows his staggering level of ignorance.”
NBC News published a think-piece by NeverTrump Republican Charlie Sykes, which claims, “Trump knows he can count on an army of loyalists like Jerry Falwell who are willing to ignore the warnings of medical experts and shift their morality to serve the president’s agenda.”
But the New York Times did the most damage thanks to an exhaustive investigative hit piece entitled, “Liberty University Brings Back Its Students, and Coronavirus Fears, Too.”
The story claimed that the “evangelical university enraged” Lynchburg residents by making students return to classes, and that after they returned “students started getting sick.”
But it wasn’t true.
Liberty students did not contract the coronavirus on campus, and Falwell did not instruct students to come back to finish their classes. Rather, he provided the option for students to return if they had “no place else to go or no place safe to go.”
In the aftermath of Times’s story, the university was granted two arrest warrants for a Times-contracted freelance photographer and a ProPublica reporter who allegedly trespassed on campus while furthering the fake news efforts.
Falwell has also threatened to sue the Times for its March 29 hit piece if it’s not retracted.
In total, about 14 percent of Liberty’s students chose to come back. In comparison, about 20 percent of students returned to the University of California-Los Angeles, Texas A&M and Arizona State University after the schools made similar offers to provide for students without accommodations.
But somehow those universities and their respective presidents escaped the media’s vitriol.
“We’re an easy target, we’re conservative,” Falwell said. “But it’s sad that they would use something as grave as the virus that’s killing people to push their political agenda, and we decided that enough is enough.”
Ironically, the only Wuhan virus cases in the Liberty University community were employees who worked from home or offices off-campus, according to Falwell. The infections were all medically traced to contacts in the local community and were unrelated to the school, he said.
Some returning students and employees were directed to quarantine as a preventative measure due to coronavirus-like symptoms. The Times pounced on the safety precaution even though none of the quarantined individuals ever tested positive for the virus.
“Liberty University created the model that other universities should follow for pandemics by protecting its students, faculty, and staff from COVID cases in the local community,” Falwell proudly claimed last week.