By Johnnie Does
I have had a few friends of mine, who read the blog, ask me why the editorial staff seems to have a strong dislike toward cable? The answer really comes down to affirmation or information. Let’s face it, most of us do not embrace debate; we live in our own echo chambers. We seek out folks on television who affirm our beliefs; as such if you lean right you pick Fox News, lean left you pick the rest of the alphabet: MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CNN, NPR, or some other network. In the end, you witness the same behavior of the host talking over, interrupting, or asking a question in such a way that the opposing view cannot answer it. As this behavior is played-out by the host of your choice, you nod your head up and down or worse yet you do not even vet that “so called Dr.” who was on during the last segment. As a result, you began mistaking “opinion or commentary” with hard news shows and because of that you summarily dismiss the other side.
Let’s tie this into the COVID-19 fiasco.
At first, the networks really did not pick up on the threat posed by this virus. Instead what they reported back in January was that President Trump was a racist because he wanted to stop international flights from certain countries and there were not enough minorities on his Covid-19 task force.
Moving forward slightly, Tucker Carlson spent an entire week saying our government was lying to us and this virus is far worse than thought. Meanwhile, MSNBC and CNN started reporting that the corona virus came from bat soup at a wet market in Wuhan, China. At first, they called it the “Wuhan virus” or “Wuhan flu” but somewhere along the way they decided that we could not refer to it by that name or say that it originated in China because that was racist.
Then the narrative turned into claims that this virus could kill you within a short period of time. In essence, if I contracted Corona on Friday, over the weekend William would be saying goodbye to me via Facetime or Zoom, and I would be dead come Monday. Like much reported about the virus, this was subsequently discredited.
Then came the lies and propaganda about healthcare rationing, and the bizarre theories that folks were dying waiting in line to be tested at the local clinic. Remember the claims that next week or the week after, we will be just like Italy with so many dead there will be no place to put the bodies. Oh, and hundreds of thousands will die because of an acute shortage of ventilators, thus the mantra to flatten the curve.
Next thing you know, we are shutting down entire states based on fear, not science or anything else supported by actual evidence. Suddenly Dr. Anthony Fauci is front, and center on our televisions and we are hanging on his every word as if he was Moses leading us thru the perils of the Covid wilderness.
Then came the models. These models promised that life as we knew it was over. The “experts” assured us that Covid-19 was the next Spanish Flu. This was the one the experts have been warning us about, well it’s here and we are woefully unprepared. The models were showing that over 2 million will die in the USA within a few weeks. From the New York Times March 20, 2020
Now we get to the other end of the range of possibilities. Dr. Neil M. Ferguson, a British epidemiologist who is regarded as one of the best disease modelers in the world, produced a sophisticated model with a worst case of 2.2 million deaths in the United States.
I asked Ferguson for his best case. “About 1.1 million deaths,” he said.
When that’s a best-case scenario, it’s difficult to feel optimistic.The Best-Case Outcome for the Coronavirus, and the Worst
Once these predictions began to ring hollow, the threat was revised down to several hundred thousand dead. Again, the mysterious model was revised to show deaths now peaking at 250K souls. Another week or so passes and the faceless model is now projecting that around 60k will likely die.
The 60K number seems to be consistent over the last few weeks but let’s look at that number for a minute. 60K dying from flu is at the top of the normal range of flu deaths in an average year. What they aren’t telling you is that 60K people a year die in the US from each of the following: alcoholism, drug overdose, suicide, and car wrecks. Why is it that we are willing to live a “normal life” with these morbidity rates but one death from Covid-19 is reason enough to shutdown most economic activity in our country of 330 million? Dear readers, Planned Parenthood kills may times that amount every year using your tax dollars, but they are declared “essential” and can keep operating, more on this later.
What is even worse is how cable has been acting during the last ten days. Tucker, Hannity et. al. on Fox are crying to reopen the entire economy and are seemingly declaring the pandemic over, even going as far as suggesting folks protest the decision to keep the shelter in place going. On the other networks, they are making fun of said protestors and saying we must keep things on lockdown except for essential services for many months. Basically, this goes back to my main point again, if you like the current occupant of the White House, open things back up, if you don’t then keep things closed down.
Folks the truth is that no one knows what is going to happen down the road. Those of you thinking that you are going to find the answer on cable television are kidding yourselves. There is a very uncertain future ahead for our country. Many networks are advocating for a prolonged shutdown because the dread models show that this fall the virus will come back more potent than ever, just like the Spanish Flu. Truthfully, it’s just pure speculation.
The virus has the healthcare system completely baffled because the behavior is not what the “experts” expected. Think of it this way, you can tell when someone has the common cold, flu, etc. but with this virus most folks, as William has referenced in his blogs, never even have any symptoms! Sounds like this thing is a silent killer of only those who have compromised immune systems, are elderly or have breathing issues.
What I do think you will see over the next few months is states beginning to open back up. The ones who are likely to support Trump will be open sooner than others with Florida and Georgia starting to lead the way. The obvious blue states will delay as long as possible holding out for more stimulus or giveaways, and the toss up states somewhere in between, depending on their governor.
I do think you will see some folks open their stores regardless of being “essential” or not. People will begin thumbing their nose at the order and for good reason. Most “non-essential” jobs paid a small paycheck April 1, for wages in the latter part of March; however, they got no check in April. May 1, when rent is due, is fast approaching. Sorry but that $1,200 payment from your great grandkids did nothing to improve your situation. If you’ve had to write a check for Federal taxes during the last two years, or didn’t file at all, then your direct deposit info is not on file with the IRS and you’re still waiting for the promised bucks from Uncle Sam. The virus may come back, or it may not, but the bottom line is folks are starting to get desperate. Owing 1 month of rent is one thing, but how about 2? Or 3? When does it stop? We stretch ourselves to the max as is, rent/mortgage, student loans, vehicle loans, credit card debt, keeping people out of work much longer will create a hostile situation. As recently as January, most Americans couldn’t handle a $400 cash emergency let alone have a three to six-month reserve.
In closing, please understand, if you are “essential” or a government worker who still gets paid, many people are not as fortunate as you. The economic upheaval from this will be felt for years. Think about the small business owner, hotel franchisee, or food service worker who was laid off. Now they are making a fraction of their former paycheck, or in some cases, they are making more if they got the $600 a weekly kicker from Uncle Sam. As far as essential businesses, this is a complete abomination of our Constitution. How is Planned Parenthood operating as “essential” but primary care physicians are not? Believe it or not, many healthcare professionals have lost their jobs as a result of the singular concentration on Corona virus. Why is the florist closed, but you can buy flowers at the grocery store? Game Stop is open? Petco is open? I am not sure who determined the criteria here, but I think tax dollars are part of the criteria as are campaign donations.
As far as cancelling your cable provider goes, frankly neither William nor I care, just as long as you understand that you are living in an echo chamber of your own design and are looking at a warped and distorted presentation of reality. Those talking heads on cable news networks, they make 7-8 figures a year, and live a very different life than you do. They have 1 primary job, to get ratings, which means higher advertising rates, and they are experts at what they do. How else can you explain to me why shelter in place is a good idea when it allows me to be at a park with 50 people simultaneously walking through it, at Home Depot with 500 people at it, or a grocery store traversing the aisles, essentially shoulder to shoulder with complete strangers? Try to vet the network/hosts/guests and shows you watch, just think about this closing point for a minute.
Here’s one illustration for you to consider. A colleague of mine consumes more cable in a day than William and I in a month combined. Back during the Oroville Dam crisis, I gave him daily updates on the spillway. He dismissed them as “this is the first time I’ve heard this” or “where do you get your news from?” Long story short, when the cable news channel he watches put out an emergency alert then the issue finally had his attention. Panic set in and he thought the best thing to do was get into a car and try to drive off to higher ground; all the while telling me to stay in place because it isn’t that big of a deal. In more current news, I told him the shelter in placed order would easily last through May, and likely into June, and he claimed, “he hadn’t heard that yet” and “stop checking BuzzFeed.” Yet here we are, 4/22 at press deadline time, and he is convinced Governor Newsom is opening commerce May 1, all because he hasn’t heard anything to the contrary. Too bad he can’t bother to listen to Newsom’s daily news conference for himself instead of wait to be told someone else’s interpretation of the highlights or he might know better.
Anyone want to take a bet that my colleague has a year’s supply of toilet paper, cleaning wipes, bleach, and non-perishable goods stocked up? While he and others cower at home not leaving, they build up fear and anxiety, all from shows they watch all day…on a continuous loop mind you. Yes, he lives in an echo chamber not paying attention to anything unless it is on cable…. oh, well. If you’ll allow me to rework the old proverb, a fool and his money are quickly parted, I have my own spin on it, a sheep who watches cable is easily fleeced.