I won’t say I’m back, because I thought I was over the hump two days ago, and that proved to be a rash miscalculation. But on this, one of many days during the year when I am prompted to remember my father, Major Jack A. Marshall, Sr., I need to make a special effort to ring in, as he would have. As I have mentioned before, Dad never let illness or injury keep him sidelined for long. It was a matter of honor for him.
1. Front Page Ethics: When I was preparing to write yesterday’s warm-up, this was going to be the first item…
The Times has tried to come up with every way possible to hype the Wuhan virus outbreak, and, simultaneously, the economic consequences of battling it, to cause as much alarm, fear and panic as possible. I’ve mentioned a few of the stunts, like spiking red graphs that extend beyond the margins of the paper. Those who have died from the virus have received special treatment, with profiles and photos in the paper, because dying of this cause obviously makes a citizen more important than someone who is killed in a robbery or who died of a ruptured spleen. This was more of the same: a small-print listing of 1,000 deaths supposedly from the virus. It was an act of pure sensationalism, teeing up cheap attacks on President Trump, another exmaple of how far into hackery the Times and the rest of the news media has fallen
An amusing note: nobody is expected to actually read a page like that, so who knows who accurate it is, but wouldn’t you think that the editors would have made sure that at least the names entered at the beginning of the list were actual pandemic victims? The New York Post reports
[O]ne of the first names on the paper’s earlier editions of the front page, Jordan Driver Haynes, 27, didn’t actually die from the virus. He was murdered, according to local reports. Haynes’ body was found in a vehicle left in a wooded area off a highway in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the local NBC affiliate reported.
Details, details. After all, the point of the stunt wasn’t to report accurate news, but to hype the death tole. The Times could have done the same thing with the number of deaths from the old fashioned flu (60,000, heart disease (about a half-million)lung cancer (135,000) or drug overdoses (67, 000). If 2020 holds to the trends of the last decades, there will be about 620,000 abortions performed. Of course, the dead in these cases don’t have names, but if they did, how would the Times publishing a thousand of them on its front page be regarded?
Isn’t this kind of gross over-emphasis a form of fake news?
Like so many of the propaganda we have been witnessing lately, this is aimed at the gullible and the easily misled, and for everyone else—perhaps a minority, we shall see, just further removes the new media from its position of influence. Continue reading