Why?


Some months back I subscribed to “The Morning,” a daily email from the NY Times that includes synopses of various news stories. In one of the more recent editions, there was an item entitled, “Information Contagion.”

The article included a brief discussion about a recent video that claimed Dr. Anthony Fauci created the coronavirus using monkey cells(!). It then went on to point out that this isn’t the only misinformation being spread related to the virus. In fact, as many of us already know, there are several dubious sources; for example, Fox News, Sinclair (which operates almost 200 television stations), and Breitbart. (In fact, Breitbart recently produced a video that claimed the drug hydroxychloroquine cured the virus.)

The article then asked what I thought was a very relevant question:

Why is the U.S. enduring a far more severe virus outbreak than any other rich country?

Following is the answer … which I think is spot-on.

There are multiple causes, but one of them is the size and strength of right-wing media organizations that frequently broadcast falsehoods. The result is confusion among many Americans about scientific facts that are widely accepted, across the political spectrum, in other countries.

Canada, Japan and much of Europe have no equivalent to Sinclair — whose local newscasts reach about 40 percent of Americans — or Fox News. Germany and France have widely read blogs that promote conspiracy theories. 

(Emphasis added.)

The article further points out that …

Fox is particularly important, because it has also influenced President Trump’s response to the virus, which has been slower and less consistent than that of many other world leaders.

I don’t think any of this is new to my readers, but sometimes seeing it in print confirms what most of us already know.

34 thoughts on “Why?

  1. It’s hard to fight back against never-ending lies. The Left can’t hardly get a seat at the table. Idiots are allowed to spew their nonsense. The main reason we have a country where basically half of the adults are complete inbreds and damn proud of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I met a guy the other day that insisted that masks do NOT work & he said that he “read” it on “the internet” that “proved” that they don’t … I figured that he meant Breibart or another stupid site or at least Facebook. All over Facebook, people insist that masks don’t work. & that all we need to do is “all get sick & get herd immunity” … like this is just another flu. It’s so tiring. Like COVID-19 doesn’t do years of damage to an otherwise healthy body. But they just deny the facts. But …. they denied the facts about Trump. So there you go.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. There’s some truth to this, but I think it’s just pushing the question one step back, and to some extent reversing cause and effect. That is to say, yes, crackpot fake media are a bigger force in the US than in other developed countries, but why is that? Why were they able to find a larger receptive audience for nonsense here than in Canada, Europe, Japan, etc.? Most of Canada’s population lives fairly close to the border and has similar access to US media of whatever kind, and in the age of the internet, people anywhere can be exposed to Fox, Breitbart, etc. Why does the US have such a large number of people susceptible to misinformation?

    The real problem is the low educational standards and high religiosity of so much of the US population, which prime them to believe irrational and unsupported ideas, combined with an anti-intellectual streak in the culture which spills over into a disdain for science and evidence generally. These things have been an issue for generations. Without them, Fox and its ilk would not have found such an audience or been able to make such an impact. Those organizations are more symptom than cause of the underlying problem.

    The “top-down” view of the origin of such problems — that they result from the malevolent influence of a relatively small number of individuals or organizations manipulating the public — is appealing because it leads to the corollary that if those few manipulators could be neutralized, the problem would thus be solved relatively easily. Militant mass ignorance passed on from generation to generation is a much more intractable issue. But that’s the reality. If all the right-wing media suddenly vanished tomorrow, other similar entities would soon spring up to occupy the ecological niche they had left vacant. Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers didn’t create this morass of mass stupidity from scratch. It was the morass of mass stupidity that allowed them to develop such excessive influence in the first place.

    Liked by 5 people

    • You make an important distinction here. We’re seeing powerful symptoms which reflect the dogma of millions of people, who would otherwise find a way to spread misinformation. Good points all around.

      Liked by 1 person

    • “The real problem is the low educational standards and high religiosity of so much of the US population, which prime them to believe irrational and unsupported ideas, combined with an anti-intellectual streak in the culture which spills over into a disdain for science and evidence generally.” $Amen$ to this statement, brother! $Amen$ We also have this moronic idea here that ALL opinions are equally correct. Therefor, a geologist who’s studied for decades telling us the earth is round is no more correct than a dude named Bubba, who has NO background in science at all, telling us the earth is, indeed, flat. After all, they’re both Americans equally expressing their opinions. Reality is what fits to one’s world viewpoint. Anything not conforming to said viewpoint is “fake news”. Right-wing media exploits this defective thinking in Americans masterfully. After all, Covid-19 is just a little flu bug no more harmful than a normal flu, right?

      Liked by 4 people

    • “One thing you never hear me complain about is the politicians….Well where do you think these politiicans come from? They come from American homes, go to American churches, own American businesses. If yiou have selfish, ignorant people, you will have selfish ignorant politicians.” (Paraphrased from George Carlin. RIP)

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Nan, what frustrates me about this example of disinformation, as opposed to other examples, is people are dying. 151,000 and counting was yesterday’s number and it is more today. Yet, these folks are so keen on wiping off Teflon Don, so that no bad news will stick.

    Trump’s modus operandi (beyond the lying, bullying and corruption) is blame others for problems. Unfortunately, he is aided and abetted by sycophants like this. People are dying, let’s try to solve that problem. Blaming others and offering disinformation will cause more to die. By the way, the movie “Dark Waters” with Mark Ruffalo was about how toxic Teflon is, so it is a doubly apt metaphor for the president.

    Keith

    Liked by 3 people

      • Nan, since this was written, we are now at 154,000, but the person in the White House is mad at Dr. Birx for saying the virus is widespread. Mr. Trump, let’s keep our eye on the ball. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • Nan, we just crossed 160,000 US COVID-19 deaths, but all the president could say last week in an interview about the 1,000 deaths a day is “it is what it is.” Five former CDC directors wrote an op-ed piece yesterday saying the failure of dealing with COVID-19 was due to the failure in leadership. None of the five have seen the CDC efforts so politicized by a president as the COVID-19 efforts have been. Keith

          Like

  5. Nan, thanks for sharing this perspective. The above commentators have pointed out a few oversimplifications of this piece, but it’s every bit worth mentioning not only the media outlets but the grassroots efforts to quell the science behind this. I think that, above all, we are desperate to split every facet of our being down party lines, so this is just another arm of the polarization in which our nation lives. I think it’s true that, were Fox News to disappear, we would still be faced with the same partisan nonsense. I’d really love to see our country galvanized around science, but we don’t seem headed in that direction. Keep fighting the good fight!

    Raz

    Liked by 3 people

    • Welcome Raz! Very pleased that you dropped by and shared your thoughts — which I agree with, BTW. 🙂

      I look forward to you becoming a regular visitor/contributor.

      Liked by 2 people

      • What I find strange is how SIMILAR the “two” parties really are. Both are in love with the corporate aristocracy. Religion gets catered to. And most importantly, “both” parties are war parties. Both love “the troops” and the latest quagmire we are in. Heck, the Afghani disaster was really started by the Holy Peanut Farmer almost 50 years ago! So this party line divide is really culture and “team spirit” rather than any real policy differences. I mean, look at some of the horrible things Clinton and Obama did. (A favorite blogger, Duncan, captioned a photo of Obama, W, and Clinton at the John Lewis funeral “Three War Criminals in One Place”

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  6. Nan, let me set everyone here right. Covid-19 was NOT created with monkey cells in a lab by Fauci. How SILLY that idea is. Covid-19 was created by leftist aliens using fish DNA and spread by Antifa members and the Rev Al Sharpton to bring an end to Christians, conservatives, and MAGA members all across the US. The problem is, these aliens and leftist idjits didn’t take into account their virus would not just kill conservatives and MAGA members, but libtard liberals as well. If this doesn’t prove how bloody stooooopid those on the left and Antifa members are, I don’t know what else will.

    Person. Man. Woman. Camera. TV. LOOK!!! LOOK!!!! I’m smart!!! I’m smart!!!!! Look how smart I am!!!!

    Liked by 4 people

    • I’m hoping the demon sperm reptile aliens did it, because if that stuff is true, maybe the part about the anti-religion vaccine is true as well.

      The world is certainly a more colorful place if you believe the wingnut media. Maybe that’s part of the appeal.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Lies! It is all a conspiracy by the Heathen Chinee. Just like Global Warming. It is sad to see someone who is usually such a Voice of Reason fall for the Communist conspiracy! Get with the program!

      Like

  7. Nan,

    Like Infidel alluded to you likely already anticipated a version of MY comment and thoughts (from a former Educator’s POV) on this transgenerational, subpar educational system—coupled with a lack of sound support from well-educated American families/parents—we have had and currently have in this country. Surprise, right? 😉 😛

    So I won’t repeat again what you’ve already read me saying about this in the past of our systemic anti-science or anti-intellectualism curriculums with willing proponents (teachers) in our fast-growing Private School systems while deprecating and dismantling Public School systems—e.g. Betsy DeVos (Holland Christian High School alum) = Goebbels’ disciple.

    Therefore, (takes a quick deep breath) 😉 I will let two journalist explain how the U.S. is repeating WW2 history. Here are two sources/links (below and following comment) about how the Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945, Joseph Goebbels, perfected and used an “Information Contagion” machine to exploit ordinary gullible Germans to be co-producers, mass producers of a false reality. Article #1:

    How Hitler Conquered Germany, adapted from Selling Hitler: Propaganda and the Nazi Brand by Nicholas O’Shaughnessy. Published by C. Hurst & Co.

    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2017/03/how-nazi-propaganda-encouraged-the-masses-to-co-produce-a-false-reality.html

    From this article, emphasis mine:

    Propaganda was the operational method of the Third Reich, the idea that projected the ideology. Hitler’s chief architect, Albert Speer, told the Nuremberg Tribunal “that what distinguished the Third Reich from all previous dictatorships was its use of all the means of communication to sustain itself and to deprive its objects of the power of independent thought.” Hitler was a magician of illusion. The cultural historian Piers Brendon has described propaganda as the “gospel” of Nazism and notes that Goebbels “liked to say that Jesus Christ has been a master of propaganda and that the propagandist must be the man with the greatest knowledge of souls.”

    Second journalist(s) and link in the following comment. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • In the days after the Nazi electoral victories of July 1932, Adolf Hitler informed Joseph Goebbels that he intended to make Goebbels director of a new propaganda ministry when the Nazis took over the reins of national government. Goebbels soon envisioned an empire that would control schools, universities, film, radio, and propaganda. “The national education of the German people,” he wrote, “will be placed in my hands.” Here’s that link:

      https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/ministry-of-propaganda-and-public-enlightenment

      The 2nd portion of the article is titled: Control of Film, Radio, Theater, and the Press. From the eerily spooky article that seems to write about the same propaganda machines in the present-day United States, emphasis mine:

      Editors and journalists were expected to follow the mandates and instructions handed down by the ministry and had to be registered with the Reich Press Chamber to work in this field. Clause 14 of the law ordered editors to omit anything “calculated to weaken the strength of the Reich abroad or at home.” The Propaganda Ministry aimed further to control the content of news and editorial pages through directives distributed in daily conferences in Berlin and transmitted through the party propaganda offices to regional or local papers. Detailed guidelines stated what stories could or could not be reported and how to report the news.

      Journalists or editors who failed to follow these instructions could be fired or sent to a concentration camp.

      And who is renown for using and abusing the phrase: You’re FIRED! And using it repeatedly throughout is cinematic/TV career? 🤔 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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