I usually skip the New York Times Sunday Review section now. By mid-2017, it had become so partisan and such a nest of rabid Trump Derangement that it was not unusual for 75% of the content to consist of anti-Trump screeds. I finally got bored with it; the stuff was predictable and too often completely bats. If I read it at all, I did so to check how fanatically the Times was supporting the various coup efforts.
Charlie Warzel is one of the less hateful of the Times op-ed writers, though based on his Ethics Alarms file he is also one of most juvenile. He was the author of a New York Times editorial titled “Open States, Lots of Guns. America Is Paying a Heavy Price for Freedom,” or in my print edition, “Will We Get Used To The Dying?” that I had fun shredding—it wasn’t hard—here. I was curious to see if he’s gotten any better since May in his Wuhan virus hysteria. His title seemed promising: “How to Actually Talk to Anti-Maskers: You cannot force public trust; you have to earn it.”
I think “anti-maskers” are jerks. It is still unclear to me how much good masks do, and the information from the “experts” has been inconsistent. I still see no reason to wear the things outside when nobody is going to come within ten feet of you, and I don’t. However, the ethical reasons to wear them are still valid:
- They might make a difference.
- Wearing them demonstrates good will and that one is trying to be responsible.
- It places those at enhanced risk at ease.
- It can’t hurt. The recent claim of Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) that his mask probably infected him was spectacularly dishonest and irresponsible, but you know, that’s Louie.
I also regard fanatic pro-mask hysterics as ridiculous and will say so when pressed.
However, I was interested to see if Charlie, having gotten himself on the Ethics Alarms Naughty List with his previous screed about the pandemic, would redeem himself. For writing op-eds is all about trust too: if I know you shade the facts, omit relevant information, engage in bias and cheat in your logic, I really don’t care what your opinion is. It’s not worth reading.
Charlie begins with an anecdote about how health officials gained the trust of the public in Senegal during an Ebola outbreak. OK—as long as the idea is to make a point about trust. Ebola isn’t the Wuhan virus, and the United States’ culture isn’t remotely like Senegal’s. Then he writes,
Taiwan is welcoming baseball fans back into stadiums. As of June, more than 20 other countries have begun the process of bringing children back to school. Thailand, a country of 70 million, hasn’t had an instance of local coronavirus transmission in seven weeks, as of last Thursday. And yet Americans are staring down nearly 150,000 virus deaths while governors and health officials pleading with citizens to wear masks are starting to sound like substitute teachers who’ve lost control of the classroom.
One indicator of how bad things are: Last week, Anthony Fauci, the United States’ leading infectious-disease doctor, felt compelled to reassure his audience during an online talk, “You can trust respected medical authorities.” He added, “I believe I’m one of them, so I think you can trust me.”
Ah! So Charlie trusts Dr. Fauci on the topic of masks., and thinks we should to. And my immediate reaction to this is.. Continue reading