A Washington Post senior editor called a man’s parents after the 56-year-old lawyer questioned whether the U.S. government should “tank the entire economy to save 2.5% of the population.”
Scott McMillan, the attorney who would become embroiled in social media backlash, has fewer than 400 followers.
On Sunday night, he weighed in on the challenging obstacles facing the country amid a coronavirus pandemic that has shut down many businesses and resulted in mass unemployment claims.
“The fundamental problem is whether we are going to tank the entire economy to save 2.5% of the population which is (1) generally expensive to maintain, and (2) not productive,” McMillan tweeted, echoing President Donald Trump’s admonishment that “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF.”
For many Twitter users, the gist of McMillan’s tweet was that he was willing to let the elderly die.
McMillan, nearly instantly, became a social media pariah. Attacked from both left and right as a heartless utilitarian, it wasn’t long before the La Mesa, California resident was trending on Twitter for all the wrong reasons.
Enter Marc Fisher: Washington Post senior editor and co-author of “Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ego, Money, and Power.”
“Scott McMillan, a 56-year-old lawyer, tweeted that it’s more vital to revive the economy than to save people who are ‘not productive,’ like the elderly and infirm. So I called his parents,” Fisher said Wednesday in a tweet linking to a story about the backlash McMillan faced.
Fisher’s story was largely sympathetic to its subject.
Still, some conservative commenters found the his tweet distasteful and indicative of purported media bias.
Well its Washington Post so its not like they have any real news to cover
— R (@R06415569) March 26, 2020
RealClearInvestigations senior writer Mark Hemingway called Fisher’s actions “appalling.”
“Random person tweets something offensive, and the Washington Post calls the guy’s parents and decides to make it a national news story?” Hemingway tweeted.
Random person tweets something offensive, and the Washington Post calls the guy's parents and decides to make it a national news story? This is appalling. https://t.co/FZ3kmAzBjl
— Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) March 26, 2020
Fox News contributor Stephen Miller mocked Fisher’s journalistic bonafides, sarcastically calling him “Edward R. Murrow incarnate.”
You found a tweet from a guy with under 400 followers you didn’t like and called his mom & dad.
You’re Edward R Murrow incarnate.
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) March 26, 2020
“Wait so a rando made a bad tweet and you called his parents?” tweeted Washington Examiner senior commentary writer Tim Carney.
To the chagrin of many, the debate over unique problems presented by the coronavirus crisis in America has taken on partisan dimensions.
Watch how this becomes the mainstream view on the Trump right pic.twitter.com/mkY8Vscwv0
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) March 23, 2020
Some liberals have accused their political opponents of being willing to trade the lives of the elderly so that the economy doesn’t implode and tank Trump’s bid for reelection.
Some on the right, meanwhile, have put forth a mirror-image argument: claiming liberals are deliberately dismissing middle-way preventative options in their fervor to see out the destruction of both the economy and the president’s chances of winning a second term.