Trump administration Covid-19 adviser Scott Atlas ripped public-health officials for “egregious” policy failures – only to be forced to apologize after mainstream media deflected his points by attacking him for appearing on RT.

On Saturday, the Stanford University doctor, who has emerged as President Donald Trump’s top adviser on responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, called the lockdown policies an “epic failure” and argued they are “killing people,” while speaking with Afshin Rattansi on RT’s Going Underground show.

“The public-health leadership have failed egregiously, and they’re killing people with their fear-inducing shutdown policies,” Atlas told RT.

While Atlas’ counter-narrative comments might have been fodder for a serious discussion of public-health policy, mainstream media outlets instead spun the interview into a controversy over a Trump administration official granting an interview to a Russian state-owned outlet.

Reporters such as CNN’s Jim Acosta, Politico’s Ryan Lizza and NBC’s David Gura immediately pounced, ignoring the substance of his comments and breathlessly telling their followers that he spoke to an alleged Kremlin mouthpiece. “White House Covid adviser appears on outlet that is described by US intel as one of the Kremlin’s main propaganda platforms,” Washington Post national-security correspondent Greg Miller said.

The controversy was so fierce that Atlas was forced to apologize. “I recently did an interview with RT and was unaware they are a registered foreign agent,” he said Sunday on Twitter, adding that he now regrets” doing the interview and also apologizing to the national-security community who is working hard to defend us.”

The apology wasn’t accepted. Christian Science Monitor reporter Dan Murphy tweeted that Atlas, who he has called a “lying Trump goon,” was lying about not knowing about RT’s foreign registration. Illustrator Chris Morris mocked Atlas for supposedly not knowing what “RT” stands for. CNN analyst Sam Vinograd said the interview “raises a lot of counterintelligence red flags.”

No explanation was offered for how voicing opinions on a Russian-funded television outlet might jeopardize US national security. None was needed.

Democrats and mainstream media outlets have repeatedly squashed discussion of undesirable information or viewpoints, by alleging a nefarious Russian plot behind the report. Such tactics were used, for example, to dismiss damning information about the Hillary Clinton campaign – released by WikiLeaks in 2016 – and recent revelations about alleged influence-peddling by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s family.

Media critic Mark Dice pointed out that no objections were raised when US Representative Adam Schiff (D-California) and other Democrats appeared on RT in the past.

The Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal tweeted he was “surprised it took this long for the US center-right opposition to merge Covid panic with Russia hysteria.”

MSNBC host Matt Negrin may have revealed just a hint of anti-Trump media vitriol when he responded to Atlas’ apology by saying, “Are you the dumbest motherf***er in the f***ing world?”

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