News Media Scare Tactics Net Big Profits

In an article dated July 10, 2020, the Washington Posterior shared an alarming headline: “After Months of Decline, America’s coronavirus death rate begins to rise.”  Evidently it took four of the Post’s most creative authors to craft a fear-mongering message with warped and incomplete information.

The article references ‘an analysis of state and county health data by The Washington Post.’ (This anal-ysis was evidently done by an unpaid team of delicate interns sporting “I’m Adulting” t-shirts and matching pairs of Forever O.G. Pants – to be sure to not fit in by fitting in.  In total, the research team spent a combined two hours this week researching Covid-19 mortality rates compared to the 4 hours they each spent on researching the carbon footprint of their rescue dogs [1 greyhound, 2 corgis, and a yorkshire terrier].  Tomorrow, when they post those selfie-with-poochie photos on IG, they can include a clever-AF caption and the most virtuous hashtag ever so as not to ‘throw shade’ on the wrong friend-type person.) The stats provided in the article must be reliable, right?!

In looking at the CDC website, the numbers are clearly unclear.  The death rate has been declining in the US since the peak of the crisis in April.  (Wait that’s worth a little bolding!  The death rate has been declining in the US since April.)  According to the CDC, the death toll dropped below 200 last week (ending July 11, 2020), the lowest number since the week of March 14th.  It may go up in the future or not, but the clairvoyance of the media pundits is no better than the clairvoyance of the celebrity twitter feed.  Oh how wonderful that a reporter with no medical/science training can quote one epidemiologist in a headline (or worse, quote another non-science, nonsense brain) and if they have Washington Post on their name tag, they are believed and social-media posted, shared, and reposted. The only more believable pundit is one with PBS on their name tag.

The article goes on to say “Texas, Arizona and South Carolina have all seen their death tolls rise by more than 100 percent in the past four weeks, according to an analysis of state and county health data by The Washington Post [interns just back from their environmentally-woke, non-chain-store coffee run].”  Again, more fear mongering.  Total deaths in the US over the last four weeks has dropped from 2,733 to 137.  That’s a drop of about 95% which is dramatic, but that appears to be missing from the headlines altogether – with a steady drop in the weekly death toll around the nation, the people who buy ink by the barrel would rather scare you by focusing on the increase in number of cases – and they carefully add that the death curve is behind the cases curve (because, as noted earlier, they are clairvoyant).  Keep moving, no agenda here!  What do I need to put in the headline so the ignorant masses (who adore me and think I’m super smart) will continue to be scared, continue to focus negative energy on the elected officials I dislike, continue to maintain a low level of psychological panic, press forward my morally narcissistic right to mask-shame others, and most importantly sell headlines that line my pockets with money, money, money?  Surprise, surprise, the richest man in America owns the Washington Post.

This kind of desire to keep Americans in a constant state of OMG is nothing new, but still we don’t seem to get the message – remember all the past terrifying propaganda-stories, everything from communists taking over the world, to nuclear annihilation, to AIDS, asteroids, and hemorrhoids.  We had no idea we had Restless Leg Syndrome until we saw the commercial for the drug that will cure it – we never knew that our decline in sexual performance wasn’t natural aging until we learned about the part-the-heavens, sunset-view-from-the-bathtub little blue pill.  Much like in the Matrix, the little blue pill provides blissful ignorance of our true reality – ah, but I digress.  Back to our WashPo article:

Don’t believe everything, or perhaps anything, that you read.  The article says “[A]mid record-breaking case numbers in several states, the death count has begun to rise, surpassing 800 deaths each of the past four days. Although still below the highs in April and May, when more than 2,000 people per day were regularly dying from the virus, experts warn that the trend could continue to get worse.” (Cue the scary violins and the film noir backdrop.)  According to the CDC website there were 137 deaths last week (ending 7/11/20) and 469 deaths the week before (ending 6/27/20) – this makes it simply impossible for the US to have “surpassed 800 deaths each of the past four days.”  Did the Washington Post mean something entirely different than what they said, or was it those pesky undereducated, underpaid interns again? Or perhaps they have access to better information than our nation’s scientific agencies and institutions?  The CDC website shows the actual deaths as follows:

The biggest issue with all of this is the nature of human beings to accept statistics without asking questions at all. “4 out of 5 dentists recommend Trident Gum” – remember that commercial?  Riddle me this Batman.  Was there a big enough sampling to imply that 80% of all dentists recommended chewing Trident or was it literally just five dentists?  Were these five dentists chosen from a particular region or population?  Are the five being given a multiple choice between Trident Gum, Lemon Drops, Caramel Taffy, and Rocky Mountain Oysters?  Are they being given a choice based on Trident Gum v. gum that is not sugarless?  Were these five dentists paid for their time by the Trident Company?  Did these five graduate at the top of their class?  Are they dentists for humans, or dogs, alligators, or whales (do whales have teeth)?  And most interestingly, what exactly did the fifth dentist support?  That’s the guy I want to talk to!

As you move forward through the information you are fed and before you repost it, stop responding with OMG and instead opt for WTF – you might just gain some perspective if you question what you read!

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