I am seeing it with increasing frequency. “The media tells you who you should love, who you should hate, who you should fear and what to think,” or words to that effect. “Think for yourself,” it warns “and stop being their puppet!!”
When exactly did the media become the deceptive, collective bogeyman? How did we come to believe that those with whom we disagree are actually dupes too simple to think for themselves? Or, more likely, did we just knowingly invent this particular monster to sow more division, more diffidence in our already beleaguered national psyche?
Is it the media that looks to make us puppets? Seems more to me like it’s some of our elected officials.
That’s certainly what came to mind this week when I heard Florida’s governor assure us things had “stabilized” in his state. This despite the inconvenient factual reality that new Florida cases are surpassing even what New York reported at the pandemic’s height back in March and April.
It seems to me the President wants us to suspend the working parts of our brains to believe that “more testing means more cases,” as though we could make cancer disappear if we just stopped screening for it.
What disingenuous nonsense it is to ignore testing positivity rates. It’s not how many tests that matters most, but the rate of infection the tests uncover. Today in New York that rate is down to 1.1 percent; in Florida it is near 20 percent and has been steadily rising since the first week of June. You don’t need the media to tell you that. You can see for yourself.
The US is a populous country and as of this writing we have the 2nd-highest mortality rate per 100,000 people in the world. It’s carnage of a magnitude unthinkable to proud Americans, who six months ago had near unshakable faith in our government to wrestle even a mammoth threat into submission.
It strikes me that when the president says, “We’re doing a great job,” as he did just this week, we’re supposed to ignore the factual reality that as of last week, the worst per capita COVID-10 outbreak on the planet was in Arizona, followed by Florida.
We’re supposed to look away from the factual reality that the virus is not a hoax, it hasn’t disappeared with the warm weather “like a miracle,” and our nation’s economic collapse, the depths of which aren’t even completely understood, is directly related to our botched national response.
Don’t read, don’t think, indulge in simpleminded conspiracy theories. Just ignore McKinsey’s view that it could take five years for the most affected business sectors to get back to 2019-level contributions to GDP. Meanwhile, other countries — even Italy, which was terribly ravaged by COVID-19 — are getting back to normal business.
In the most egregious of social media memes there’s the line, “The media is the virus.” Why do I suspect the families of the 135,802 dead Americans (and counting) would disagree?
No, I do not fear the media. I am confident my ability to think and reason. But am I troubled about a powerful government that wants me to believe a certain way despite clear evidence to the contrary? Seems to me that’s the real puppet master, that’s the real concern.