It is an unfortunate observation that data and logic have become largely irrelevant due to the politicization of the pandemic. As I was perusing the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, I was struck by the principle: “Seek Truth and Report It: Journalists should provide context (and) take special care to not misrepresent or oversimplify… a story.” Bearing this in mind, it occurred to me that most of the coverage of the pandemic by the mainstream media has been unethical at best, and at worst, insidiously contemptible.

I recently read the headline: “COVID-19 infections and deaths spiral out of control in Oregon,” (WSWS.org, Aug. 31, 2021). Perhaps this journalist is unaware that the deaths in Oregon resulting from the Delta wave are not even half the number of deaths we saw at the peak of the pandemic in early January this year (538 deaths from Dec. 6, 2020 to Jan. 9, 2021, vs. 218 deaths from July 25, 2021 to Aug. 21, 2021) and that these numbers, combined with the most recent OHA report showing that “new cases in Oregon are continuing to decline,” do not lead anyone with average reading comprehension skills to conclude that deaths are “spiraling out of control.”

Another shocking case of blatant misinformation was observed on MSN.com. The headline, “Podcaster Joe Rogan Is ‘Treating’ His COVID-19 With Horse-Dewormer and Other Drugs,” fails to mention the fact that this “horse dewormer” is actually the Nobel Prize-winning drug ivermectin, which has been used safely in humans for over 35 years with more than four billion doses administered to date. Furthermore, a peer-reviewed study out of India that showed the prophylactic use of ivermectin “was associated with a 73% reduction of SARS-CoV-2 infection among healthcare workers for the following month.”

Calling ivermectin a “horse dewormer” is disingenuous, to say the least. The media is manipulating public perception through the use of negativity bias, selection bias, attention bias, the framing effect and egocentric bias. Anyone following the science can see that COVID-19, with its 98.2% overall survival rate (99.8%-plus for people under 49) is being used by the mainstream media to whip people up into a frenzy and generate revenue from “click-bait.” It behooves us to do our own research before we publicly expose our own fear and ignorance.

Rebecca Patton

Enterprise

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