The egregious unforced errors indulged in by opinion piece writers, indeed by experts, because bias makes them stupid continues to amaze.
Today’s example: a Times op-ed (the paper now calls them “Opinions,” but it’s an op-ed) headlined “Joe Rogan Is a Drop in the Ocean of Medical Misinformation.” It is really a stalking horse for censorship, with quotes like,
Quackery won’t disappear by deplatforming or censoring people…instead, we need to prevent false or misleading health claims from reaching millions of people in the first place.
Wait, what? Don’t censor people, just prevent the public from having access to information “someone” deems “false or misleading?” That’s one point at which I would have stopped reading if my job wasn’t to red flag such sinister double talk. I would have quit well before this though.
For example, the essay’s first paragraph describes as “misinformation” spread by Joe Rogan on his Spotify-hosted podcast “false and dubious health claims.” Well are they false or are they dubious? Dubious means doubtful, but many theories and opinions that people doubt turn out to be correct. The authors of this dubious screed are Vox’s “health reporter” (you know, Vox) and a professor who works with her on “the Global Commission on Evidence to Address Societal Challenges. Uh-oh. Here’s the Authentic Frontier Gibberish with which that dubious body describes itself:
The Evidence Commission’s independent panel of commissioners bring diverse points of view to creating a report that speaks to, and to pursuing pathways to influence that will spur action among, the many different types of people who make or can influence decisions about whether and how evidence is used to address societal challenges. They bring powerfully complementary perspectives, ranging across most types of societal challenges (and Sustainable Development Goals), all types of decision-makers (government policymakers, organizational leaders, professionals and citizens), and all major forms of evidence.
Moving on, the same paragraph in the Times piece tells us,
The calls to remove [Joe Rogan’s] podcast have only intensified after revelations that he’s also repeatedly used a racist slur on the show, leading Spotify’s chief to apologize to the company’s employees.
So the essay about the dangers of misinformation starts out with deliberate misinformation! Nice. Again, that would normally be enough for me to say “bye-bye”; it’s signature significance for hypocrites and liars. The “racist slur” was “nigger,” and Rogan did not “use it,” he quoted the word in discussions of racist incidents and discourse. The fact that Spotify’s stumbling management apologized for conduct that required no apologies does not make what Rogan did wrong when it wasn’t.
But wait: there’s more! Later these authors take a misleading swipe at two “dubious” drugs that have legitimate studies supporting their value in minimizing the effect of Wuhan virus infections: “Bleach, cocaine and water have all been promoted as remedies — as have ineffective and potentially harmful medicines, like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.” The pairing of three substances that are obviously fraudulent remedies with the two drugs is a cheat; the claim that they are necessarily ineffective is “dubious;” and all medicines are “potentially harmful” if misused. If “experts” are this careless in their rhetoric, how can anyone trust their conclusions? That’s easy: they can’t.
Most of all, however, the opinion piece disqualifies itself by ignoring the Jumbo at the end of its metaphorical rope. That pachyderm would be the documented “misinformation” sent out to the public from the start of the pandemic by the Centers for Disease Control, WHO, and health experts, who have said, at one time or another, that masks were not necessary, that they were essential, that they weren’t needed if one was vaccinated, that they didn’t work, and every other possible permutation. There had to be misinformation in there somewhere. Then there were all the health experts who said that it was crucial to saving lives to avoid gatherings over 100…well, 50…maybe ten people, unless those crowds were demonstrating over a Minnesota cop accidentally killing a lifetime criminal using a department sanctioned technique in a tragic incident that had nothing to do with racial animus. Then gatherings in crowds was safe. Or at least worth the risk. Or something.
It is clear that in the view of the authors, whether something is “misinformation” or not depends on who is talking.
It is inexplicable that a piece like this can reach publication unless everyone along the route to circulation is so biased that their brains have stopped functioning…or, in the alternative, they are deliberately appealing to readers whose brains never functioned very well.