Which brings me to why I write today. When I read your op-ed focusing your anger on the AJC for their tough, fair, and essential coverage, I was stunned. For months, reporters, data professionals, public health experts, and elected officials, have tried to get more information and context from your office, with little success.
Your administration’s lack of transparency has been inexplicable, a staggering failure of leadership. In large part because of these failures, the members of Georgia’s press corps have become a vital resource to the public for accurate and credible data.
State Sen. Jen Jordan
So, what did the AJC do that drew such a rebuke from you? It reported on a White House Coronavirus Task Force Report that shows that the Trump administration thinks Georgia is failing at managing this crisis. The AJC made it public, providing information we all need. That’s why the AJC reported the contents. You took it personally. It’s not. The fact that your administration did not release this report to the public is a dereliction of duty of the highest order.
Even though the numbers and grim assessment came from the White House, you still seemed to have an unyielding need to put your head in the sand, and hope that we would too. After all, if the press doesn’t report on the thousands of deaths, of the damaged bodies, and devastated families, then maybe no one will realize just how badly things have been managed.
Georgians are scared. They see their friends and loved ones get sick. Some recover, but some do not. We still don’t fully understand what lasting consequences of the illness may linger. Black and brown communities have suffered so much, and yet you seem to care more about making sure college football kicks off than saving lives.
You like to talk about protecting business, as if pro-business policies can’t also protect people, but the truth is, your failures to act have hurt businesses too. By not taking the advice of scientists, you are making every mom and pop shop that’s trying to survive become the enforcer and the arbiter of mask policies. They don’t have science advisors, you do. They can’t make people wear masks, you can.
You have tried to convince us it’s the economy vs. public health. Opening vs. shutting. Personal liberty vs. mask mandates. No such dichotomy exists. We can’t have a healthy economy without healthy people. We can’t continue to enjoy our global standing when we prioritize bars over children’s education. We can’t win if we attack the people who hold up the mirror and ask us why we aren’t telling the full truth.
There is one thing that we can agree on – Georgians must work together. But that is unlikely if your administration continues to go after journalists for doing their job and for providing the public with information that you won’t. Don’t say you want unity if what you really want is silence.
State Sen. Jen Jordan, D-Sandy Springs.