The Covid-19 outbreak is extremely serious. However, the news media has done some irresponsible reporting that is creating significant anxiety over above that which people are already experiencing.
Early on I began collecting online comments about the Covid19 pandemic, recognizing that many would not age well. Here are a few of them. Overall, the public messaging around coronavirus has been inconsistent, contradictory, lacking in clarity, even wrong – and sometimes outright lies. This is part 1 of who knows how many parts to come. This is open ended.
This. Is. CNN.
Sunday Times columnist says coronavirus is a good thing because it kills old people, and only older people are climate skeptics.
This is today’s journalism which finds age-based hate speech is fine. He is oblivious that coronavirus does not kill based on beliefs – it also kills old people who care about climate change, old politicians that want to do something, and older climate scientists.
Canada proposes mandatory licensing of all who disseminate “news”, not just through broadcasting but also on the Internet, plus regulating “foreign” streaming services.
A new book discusses our focus on negative news – and how negativity in all aspects of our life is not where we need to be. I’m buying the book.
The news headline says Oregon ranks high in natural disasters, which the text explains, is wildfires in the State.
This claim comes from a press release from a small, little known online Internet insurance sales web site. This type of press release is put out in hopes of garnering free publicity – and it certainly worked for them – in large part because the media, like all of us, is more likely to succumb to a fear-based scary headline.
However, if we practice factfulness and look at the long term trend in Oregon fires we see that a small rise at the right end of the chart has been translated into a crisis and a catastrophe. The chart above is the official chart from the Oregon government’s Fire Statistics page, and shows actual acreage burned and total fires burned in Oregon since 1911.
The slight increase at the extreme right edge is the basis for the scary headline. By leaving out all historical context and by focusing on large percentile increase in a tiny number at the right edge of the chart, the media creates unwarranted fear and hysteria in viewers.
The media’s focus on scary, fear-based propaganda messaging – and avoidance of discussing workable solutions that are already underway – leads to intense negativity and anxiety. The result has been a majority of young people believing humanity may be extinct in ten years, even though there is zero evidence to support such nonsense. We are literally scaring people to death via false and inappropriate propaganda messaging. Some journalists are looking to “solutions journalism” moving away from the whining negativity of current news reports that focus on problems and seldom examine workable solutions,. This new approach offers hope and a positive way forward.
We are faced with a constant bombardment of negativity – yet most of it is flat out false. We live in the best of times in human history, and even our environmental footprint is improving dramatically, contrary to the constant drone of fear mongering.
News headlines that end with a question mark are signaling the story is bull shit, click-bait or propaganda messaging. Is this what the experts say? (Heh)