A Journal of the Plague Year (29)

April 14, 2020

British blogger Guido Fawkes reports today that polls taken in the US, UK, Germany and Sweden show a significant increase in public confidence in governments, local and central, healthcare, essential retailers, manufacturing and other. However, the institutions recording a colossal drop in confidence in the polls were—you guessed it—the media!

It’s hardly surprising. Bloviating nonentities posing as journalists have shown themselves to be nothing other than a waste of space.
In an interesting article in politico.com [here] (believe it or not), Mike Leavitt, former HHS Secretary under President Dubya Bush, notes that:

“In advance of a pandemic, anything you say sounds alarmist. After a pandemic starts, everything you’ve done is inadequate.”

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Leavitt warned several administration about the real possibilities of a pandemic and its likely effects, but no-one listened. Well, not exactly; they listened and then lost interest as all governments do.

And for his troubles, that health secretary — Bush appointee Mike Leavitt — was mocked as an alarmist by political rivals and late-night comics, even as that year’s threat of avian flu petered out around the globe.
“Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt recommended that Americans store canned tuna and powdered milk under their beds for when bird flu hits,” host Jay Leno said on the Tonight Show in 2006, a recurring bit where he ridiculed Leavitt’s warnings. “What? … Powdered milk and tuna? How many would rather have the bird flu?”
Speaking to POLITICO this month, Leavitt described a trap that health and national security officials know too well: Prepare too early and you’re called Chicken Little. Act too late — and millions may die.
“In advance of a pandemic, anything you say sounds alarmist,” Leavitt explained. “After a pandemic starts, everything you’ve done is inadequate.”

Back in those days, late night talk show hosts like Jay Leno were comedians; now, they are, like Colbert, just unfunny left-wing bores posing as comedians.


“In advance of a pandemic, anything you say sounds alarmist. After a pandemic starts, everything you’ve done is inadequate.”

That’s how it turns out. No matter how hard the political leaders are trying to deal with the situation, a disaster that nobody in our times has any experience of, the execrable bloviators in the media will always find a way to bitch and divide rather than try to help. That‘s one reason for the poll result shown above.

Even worse for the media is when leaders, like President Trump, are making a positive difference. As Dr Nan Hayworth notes on Fox News,

The first major blow against the disease was struck by President Trump in January when he imposed restrictions on travel from China. This decisive step has been credited with sparing millions of Americans from exposure to the virus, buying crucial time we needed to delay the wave of severe illness now familiarly known as the “curve.”
It’s been estimated that without any mitigation efforts by either state or federal governments, up to 2.2 million Americans would have died from COVID-19. President Trump’s travel restrictions on China were joined subsequently by bans on travel from Europe, the United Kingdom and Ireland, further limiting the introduction of the novel coronavirus from abroad.

Originally, death prediction posited up to 2.2 million across the US. Real data coming in, modifying model predictions has led to significant downward projections:

Recent reports show coronavirus hospitalizations across the U.S. to be far lower than expected, with a notable days-long fall in new hospitalizations in New York, where the pandemic has struck hardest. The state now projects a need for roughly 20,000 to 30,000 beds, compared with the 110,000 that Gov. Andrew Cuomo had previously said would be needed.

Unfortunately, the truly despicable nature of some in the media, particularly MSNBC, a font of lies, gave rise to another lie:

MSNBC host Chris Hayes, for example, floated the outlandish conspiracy theory that the administration had deliberately inflated previous counts to make the revised projections look better….
…Hayes’ resoundingly ridiculed hypothesis is decisively refuted by experts, including Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, leaders of the Coronavirus Task Force, who have described how the nation’s steadily evolving response to COVID-19, and the volume and speed of data collection, influence models’ assumptions and predictions day by day.

I have some sympathy with all politicians and leaders in this era of chaos. They are trying their level best to deal with a disaster that they have no experience of. Instead of reporting the news to the best of their ability, much of the media is focused on squeezing the pustule of their own self-aggrandizement.

Let’s make sure we never let them forget it.

Rebel Yell