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Most of the media is trying to keep us shut down forever with absurd, unscientific fearmongering
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Most of the media is trying to keep us shut down forever with absurd, unscientific fearmongering

Don't fall for nonsense

You know the old saw about how the media works: "If it bleeds, it leads." That's maybe less true than it used to be, but it's still generally true that the media feeds on panic and bad news. There's no ratings in a story that says "Everything is fine, go about your business and you'll almost definitely be OK."

The media's addiction to panic is the source of a lot of terrible public policy. They even have a term for it: "Moral panic." A lot of the idiotic laws that criminalize trivial behavior and interfere with the economy and individual freedom in unnecessary ways are the fault of the media's addiction to it.

Usually, the stakes aren't tremendously high, at least for the public at large. Apple growers and sellers were temporarily devastated by the Alar panic, but most of us just kind of went on with our lives. The current crisis, which is becoming the biggest moral panic in the history of the universe, is different.

I noticed today this story from Business Insider that featured the screaming headline, "France recorded 70 new coronavirus cases in schools, a week after it let more than 1 million kids go back to class." The article favorably quotes from anonymous European parents who are mad that their kids are being used as "guinea pigs" and scolds French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer for calling the 70 positive test results (out of 1.4 million children) "inevitable."

Let us start by stating the obvious: The reporter who wrote this story did not bother to do even a cursory job of coming to grips with the science of coronavirus transmission before writing this story. Given what we know about the virus' incubation period, the chances that any of these 70 cases (which popped up in 7 days) came from school transmission is extraordinarily small. There is a possible story that could be written in two or three weeks about school transmission of the coronavirus in France, but to write a story like this after seven days means you either don't know or don't care about the subject at hand, as long as you can scare people.

Second, yes, it is inevitable that some kids are going to get the coronavirus when schools reopen. There is literally nothing that can be done to stop this. Even if schools never reopen, or don't reopen for 18 months while we wait for a vaccine, there will still be some in-school transmission of coronavirus. The overwhelming majority of these kids will show no or very mild symptoms. Yes, a very small number of them will develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome, which itself is treatable but can be fatal if left untreated.

Here is something any parent who has small kids already knows: Sending your kids to any school is an invitation for them to catch disease. The vast majority of these diseases will come and go. But sometimes, in rare cases, it will be something serious, or it will be something that is normally not life-threatening (like hand, foot and mouth disease or strep throat) but can become serious or even fatal in rare cases (like multisystem inflammatory syndrome with coronavirus).

There is literally no way to avoid this, other than to have at least one parent stay at home and homeschool — which does not eliminate the risk of infectious disease but certainly reduces it. Of course, we are regularly told by liberals and the media that homeschooling is bad and should not be encouraged, but apparently the media's insatiable demand for panic trumps even their disdain for homeschooling and their insistence that everyone must go to government-funded public school.

One might get the impression, from the tenor of the coverage, that the majority of the media wants us all to stay home forever, scared of venturing outside and constantly checking our phones for the latest dose of panic from ... the media. Their coverage certainly seems intended to have that effect.

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Leon Wolf

Leon Wolf

Managing Editor, News

Leon Wolf is the managing news editor for Blaze News.
@LeonHWolf →