Larry H

Listening to Reporters can be Hazardous to Your Brain

We have heard repeatedly that we should listen to the medical professionals – especially those with an overview of the Covid-19 crisis.

Two individuals are widely recognized as the best authorities on the subject.  They are Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx.  They are not only the leading authorities on the subject, but they serve on the White House Covid-19 Task Force.

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They are part of the public White House briefings.  They have the most reliable information on the big picture across the nation – including the spread of the disease, hot spots, testing, medical supplies, and critical equipment.  They are among those who set national policy for President Trump – and he does listen to them, contrary to too many of the statements by members in the news media.

There are several reasons why we should stop listening to reporters.  First and foremost, they are NOT experts.  Their reports are second and third hand – and will be inaccurate even under the best of circumstances and with the best of intentions.

News anchors, reporters, and pundits spread confusion. One station had doctors explaining why those without symptoms should not wear masks in public.  Yet reporters on another station were promoting the use of masks for everyone.

But there are two other problems.  The reporting profession is characterized by sensationalism.  Bad news dominates the news.  Good news is a rare feature.  The unofficial mantra of the news industry is, “If it bleeds, it leads.”  Show them a beautiful mosaic and they will find the cracked tile or missing piece on which to focus.  Consequently, the news folks focus on the most dreadful anecdotal reports they can find – and then they exaggerate.

That is why the media – as much as any institution – is responsible for so much of the public anxiety and even panic.  I will offer up one example.

I am in Palm Beach County, Florida — just north of the Broward County line.  If you follow the news, you know that south Florida – Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties have been one of the so-called “hot spots” for the Covid-19 virus.  The media reports – local and national – are very scary.

Weeeell … a close friend of mine had to go to the Cleveland Clinic – the largest medical facility in the region — for a diagnostic procedure unrelated to the virus.  The Clinic is in the heart of the Broward County hot spot.

Not only was the Clinic not crowded, but it was also amazingly quiet.  He first noticed a lot of available parking spots – usually hard to find on an average day.  Very few people in the lobby.  The emergency room was relatively quiet.  And this is a hot spot?

In checking with other hospitals in the area, I discovered that they were operating at below 60 percent occupancy.  This is even below their past normal volume of patients.  Much of the drop is due to the cancelation of non-critical surgery and the fact that few people are showing up sick – assuming the hospital will be jammed and a petri dish of Covid-19.

One of the biggest problems with listening to reporters is that too many of them have political biases and agendas.  This greatly distorts their reporting.  While they say we should not politicize the outbreak, they do just that.

News is not being presented on a factual basis, but only after a few rotations in the opinion spin machine.  The only thing we should take from the news reporters is to take our news and information from the medical professionals.  Of course, if they really believed what they recommend, they would cut back on the reporters, pundits, and politicians and give more airtime to the top medical professionals.

So, there ‘tis.


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