How ‘Our MSM’ create headlines by using ‘data’ …
Readers of this column will have noticed that in the past weeks and months we’ve kept our beady eyes trained on the way ‘Our MSM’ have been writing about the CV-19 pandemic, pointing out on a daily basis that they’ve not been doing as they ought to, namely separating the reporting of facts from writing their opinion.
Not that there’s anything wrong with having opinions, nor with publishing them, nor with having those opinions coloured by ideology. After all, everybody is entitled to have an opinion but nobody is entitled to have their own facts. ‘Our MSM’ however have been shining examples of reporting some ‘facts’ while disregarding others and denigrating those who dare point out those pesky facts which didn’t nor don’t fit their ‘narrative’.
That ‘narrative’ is aimed to keep the nation in a state of continuous fear about CV-19. I do wonder though if we’d have seen the same ‘CV-19 narrative’ if Corbyn – for it was he who’d be sitting in No 10 had Labour won, not Sir Keith Starmer – had to deal with this outbreak.
This morning the MSM duly report that Johnson is ‘upbeat’ about the course of the pandemic and that by Christmas we’ll be back to the new normal, of Lockdown becoming a thing of the past (link). However, there‘s this snippet which didn’t get much attention:
“Mr Johnson also unveiled sweeping new powers for local authorities to impose local lockdowns by shutting premises and cancelling events. Central Government will also have power to intervene where necessary.” (link)
Ah. So if one person in your street ‘has the virus’, a local authority can lock down the whole street. Good to know – especially as the “sages of SAGE” keep on telling everybody and the MSM that there might be that 2nd wave, that we must be frightened, that staying at home is perfectly fine, and never mind the scandal of the manipulation of death numbers by PHE.
This scandal has been documented in a paper by two professors two days ago. You can read the paper here. We know by now that the SAGE lot is not at all enamoured by professor Henegan, one of those Oxford professors who’ve repeatedly shown up the SAGE data as being unsubstantiated (I’m extremely polite here!). ‘Our MSM’ however seem to be totally in thrall to Messrs Whitty and Vallance.
It’s astonishing that Hancock and ‘Our MSM’ are so shocked by this revelation that Hancock has now ordered an inquiry (link paywalled). It’s not as if there hadn’t been numerous comments and readers’ letters to the MSM about this: all ‘anecdotal’, and blogs reporting on this scandal were of course beyond the pale, never mind their meticulous documentation. Here’s The Times, trying to be very temperate:
“In contrast with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, where daily deaths are now often zero, Covid-19 deaths in England have stayed stubbornly high and are falling only slowly. Yesterday 114 deaths were recorded and the seven-day average is 83. Statisticians have analysed the methodology used by Public Health England (PHE) and found that at least some of the difference in England is due to a method by which even someone who dies in a road accident is included in the coronavirus statistics if they had ever tested positive.” (link, paywalled)
Isn’t it wonderful that none of the ‘science’ and ‘health’ editors of that august publication ever noticed this discrepancy! Is it conceivable that not one of their journalists has asked ‘how come’? It is of course inconceivable to assume that asking such questions, detrimental to ‘the narrative’, were disallowed.
The DT is now also concerned. Their opinion writer Matthew Lesh does ask some questions – today, after the scandal could not be swept under the carpet. After all, the paper of those two professors is now out in the public domain:
“It is astonishing: under these terms, a person who tested positive a few months ago but then gets hit by a bus this week would be recorded as a Covid death. In fact, if left unchanged, every single one of the 292,500 people who have tested positive will some day be a Covid-19 death statistic – even if they live for decades and die of completely unrelated causes.” (paywalled link)
Yes, that’s amazing all right, especially as nobody ever pointed this out before. Only we unwashed plebs talked about it. Mr Lesh makes some good points, albeit a bit late now:
“This scandal has real consequences. […] It has played havoc with analysis about who is most at risk from the virus, be it by age or pre-existing condition. It also undermines our understanding of the extent of spread, hotspots and the steps required to combat the virus.” (paywalled link)
Well spotted – but Mr Lesh doesn’t see that this is why so many of us who live outside the Westminster bubble have questioned the rationale for the Lockdown restrictions. There’s more:
The PHE death figures have been reported every day in news bulletins and on newspaper front pages. They have fed into existing public anxieties that are holding people back from shopping, dining and drinking. They have also dissuaded people from returning to work.” (paywalled link)
That, although Mr Lesh doesn’t say so, is the reason why ‘Our MSM’ have gone with the PHE statistics. It always was about keeping the population in fear, not about getting back to normal.
Now let me demonstrate, out of the MSM’s own mouths, that and how they are institutionally incapable of reporting news unadulterated while colouring the facts with their opinion:
Point # 1: ‘Our MSM’ have used the PHE numbers to keep the fear & hysteria campaign going’, never asking why there were those differences between England, Wales and Ccotland. Shouldn’t they at least have asked Hancock why there is this disparity? Were the Scots and Welsh so much healthier than the English?
Instead, ‘Our MSM’ blithely reported the PHE figures with screaming headlines and with graphs aimed to dazzle us with bovine excrement. We all remember those. Perhaps they did notice but didn’t ask because decreasing death numbers wouldn’t make us peasants fearful enough to leave our hovels?
Point # 2: ‘Our MSM’ are still at it. We know that they switched from death numbers to ‘case numbers’ because these numbers are ‘scary’. Don’t mention that they’re bound to rise with more people being tested. It’s those high numbers which keep the ‘narrative’ going!
Now we’re told that there’s a ‘game changer test’ coming out: a pin-prick blood test which is allegedly 98.6% accurate (link). This test has been developed by a consortium, led by Oxford scientists, and has been ‘secretly’ tested on 300 people in NI. For once, I have to agree with a Whitehall source:
“Whitehall sources warned, however, that scientists are still unsure whether the presence of antibodies means a person is immune to coronavirus and can return to normal life without fear of re-infection.” (link)
Indeed. I leave it to your imagination how government, local and national, will utilise this test. Will we all have to show that we did the test before being allowed out?
Point # 3: there’s a report on the USA which gives the game away. The headline asks why the death rate in the USA is lower than expected, given the breathless reports on rises in case numbers:
“As cases rise, deaths decline. The disconnect between case and death trends is striking,” said Whet Moser from The Covid Tracking Project.” (link)
In that article the DT helpfully provides a graph (scroll down a bit), showing this disconnect. One would have thought that at least one or two trained journalists might have noticed this discrepancy and asked why – but then again, it doesn’t fit the ‘narrative’ which in the case of the USA has of course got to be ‘Trump bad’.
Point # 4: ‘Our MSM’ are also looking at other countries. There’s for example Brazil and there’s India, both reporting staggering numbers of ‘new cases’:
“Brazil has recorded two million coronavirus cases as the disease spreads across South America’s largest country, while India notched up a million cases.” (link, paywalled)
The Times reports that 76,000 people died in Brazil and 25,602 in India. Just as in their reports from the USA, they don’t even hint at the population size of those countries! These numbers are published because they’re meant to scare us. However, we must not ask if all those ‘new cases’ are swamping the hospitals in those countries. Ultimately, using the PHE ‘approach’, they’ll all die of CV-19 …
Point # 5: I’ve left this extraordinary news item to the last. It shows that ‘Our MSM’ are capable of inserting text into their columns but lack the normal human curiosity, never asking ‘why’. I found it in the rolling ‘live blog on CV-19’ in the DT where it was flagged at 5.33pm yesterday. It’s from Ghana:
“The total number of health workers infected is 2,065,” Patrick Kumah-Aboagye, the director general of the country’s health service, said. “Out of that number, 1,870 have recovered and 183 are in isolation centers or undergoing treatment at home.” So far only six health workers are reported to have died from the virus, he said. Ghana – which boasts one of the region’s best testing rates – has reported more than 26,000 infections, of which 139 have been fatal.” (link)
Haven’t we been told that CV-19 kills more BAME people than white ones? Why therefore haven’t Indians died like flies? How are these Ghanase data even possible, with this low ‘fatality number’? Could it be that the Ghanaese doctors are much better at distinguishing between ‘dying from CV-19’ and ‘dying with CV-19’? What does that tell us about the usefulness of ‘Our NHS’, of ‘Our SAGE’, of PHE and indeed of ‘Our MSM’?
There’s talk about a CV-19 inquiry – much needed indeed – but such inquiry must address the role played by ‘Our MSM’ in this whole Lockdown madness. It cannot simply be about CV-19 and Lockdown. It must also be about how ‘Our MSM’ have facilitated the government’s attempts to deprive us of our freedom and civil liberties.