Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick has noticed something: After 9/11, the entire nation rallied around New York City and cheered on the city’s resolve as it struggled to rebuild. (Lithwick does note, rightly, that “the city and the twin towers became the national locus of grieving, sometimes in ways that elbowed out the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the other scenes of 9/11 attacks.)

But that’s not the case this time. Now, during the coronavirus pandemic, the city “has been shunned and shamed,” and Gov. Andrew Cuomo “has received extra special and escalating abuse from Donald Trump in response to his urgent requests for help.”

We’d disagree that the nation has shunned New York City; a lot of the nation probably is wary of the city’s progress in controlling the spread of COVID-19, considering it’s one of the main hotspots. Plus, reporters have put New York City front-and-center, as usual.

Lithwick notes how 9/11 pulled together Americans by giving them a united enemy in Islamic terrorists, and now we have the Chinese and Asian Americans:

For a while, the foreign “others” that seemed easiest to blame for COVID-19 were the Chinese, and then Asian Americans in general (and yes, this happened in New York too). But now, blaming any New Yorker will do. It’s no accident that the city is a long-standing American symbol of multiculturalism, ethnic diversity, and openness in ways that date back to the Statue of Liberty, itself a former icon that has only recently fallen out of favor as a national symbol of tolerance and refuge. Back in 2001, we all celebrated New York for being particularly tolerant in the face of narrow-minded fundamentalist hate from Islamic extremists. It is a marker of a uniquely Trumpist, “America First” fundamentalism that this isn’t a quality to be celebrated anymore, but a soft underbelly to the MAGA dream that now threatens to infect us all. What we loved about bighearted, tolerant New York in 2001 is what cannot be tolerated in 2020.

You mean this guy?

Like the way the New York Times seemed simultaneously disappointed and amused that the hospital ship Comfort had only three patients so far?

Face it, it’s not news unless it happens in New York or Washington, D.C., because that’s where all the journalists are.

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