What I have learned in watching news reporting on Covid-19:

  • Places that do well tend to eventually do badly . The time dimension is an important component in a pandemic, frequently ignored
  • Places that do really badly receive saturation coverage with much gloom and doom reporting. When their situations resolve, news coverage – including the good news that their situation is resolved, vanishes.
  • UPDATE: New Zealand, which did everything right and was at zero cases, has surged from 0 to 69 in the past 4 days. S. Korea is re-establishing social distancing mandates after a rash of new cases. Hawaii, which has had a mandatory face mask requirement since April 17th, interisland travel restrictions including quarantines, loss of 90% of travel to the island and quarantines/testing of all arrivals, and was doing so well – now, as of mid-August HI has the highest R-0 value of any state and is seeing a surge in hospitalizations.

I’m so old, I remember when Florida, Texas and Arizona were spiraling out of control and each day brought scary news headlines. Now that the situation has reversed, good news stories have apparently been banished from the news.

Florida 8-15-2020

Texas 8-15-2020

From Texas Tribune

Arizona

New Mexico

Albuquerque Journal Graphic. And see “New Cases continue to plunge” in NM.

Sweden

I’m so old, I remember that Sweden screwed up and is the worst in Europe and is out of control. Until it wasn’t – but that change is not being reported.

U.S. EpiCurve From CDC

BAD NEWS!

When new cases began to drop, the news pivoted to the death count. Deaths tend to lag new cases by 1 to 4 weeks. This way the news could extend their gloom and doom outrage for a few more weeks!

Now that the daily death counts are dropping, the news coverage of those states has vanished.

The primary purpose of the news is to serve as a conduit delivering eyeballs to advertisers. Because fear is a powerful emotion and a motivator to “check the news”, the media focuses on being as scary as possible.

A consequence is our views of the world around us are badly warped into a perspectives that are not true. In a sense, by selectively choosing what to report and how to report it – even when the information is accurate – they are biasing news into fake news.

This is the technique of “error by commission” (lying) versus “error by omission” (bias by leaving out information).

I frequently use the term “fiction news” (instead of fake news). By choosing which stories to run, by selecting which “experts” from which to obtain quotes, and choosing which stories not to run – they intentionally bias your perspective – with a focus towards making you fearful.

By EdwardM