Low Quality Advocacy Media Reporting Continues Unabated
To a large extent, the mainstream media does not disinterestedly report news. It presents views, often of the journalists themselves, that advocate for a given position. This has led to their description as Advocacy Media.
Sometimes, the bias comes from ownership. Other times, it comes from coercion. (See The Fourth Estate – Responsibility and Freedom)
If you choose to watch or listen to advocacy media, I would strongly advise that at all times, you do so with your critical faculties on high alert.
As an example, from that venerable news source, Yahoo News, comes the following, brought to you by Kate Buck, the Breaking News Editor, Yahoo News UK on 13th June, 2022:
A public health expert has said the government’s “living with COVID” approach is no longer viable and that the public should once again be urged to wear face masks to halt the spread of the virus.
COVID cases have soared across the UK in recent weeks with official figures reporting 2.7 million having the virus as of 30 June.
On Tuesday, Dr Chris Papadopoulos, principal lecturer in Public Health at the University of Bedfordshire, warned the UK is no longer in a post-COVID world “despite what the government might want to believe”.
He said new measures need to be considered “urgently” given increasing hospitalisations, including pushing the guidance that face masks are worn in enclosed public spaces.
Dr Papadopoulos said: “One of the messages the government should push again is mask wearing in enclosed and poorly ventilated spaces such as public transport, especially since there has been a growing stigma against mask-wearing in recent times.
How Can Someone With Such A Frail Grasp Of The Situation Be Lecturing On It?
It is astounding that someone with such a frail grasp of the situation could hold the position of Principal Lecturer in Public Health at a university. It is widely known by all those who have bothered to look at a wide range of studies over the last couple of years, that MASKS DON’T WORK in stopping the spread of COVID. (Ref 1)
And not just studies. Looking at data from the US, there is no significant difference in the spread of COVID between States that had mask mandates and States that didn’t. The mandates improved compliance with mask wearing, but did not impact the spread.
I would warn the public that mask wearing does not reduce the spread of COVID, despite what Dr Chris Papadopoulos might want to believe.
There are negative impacts to wearing masks for extended periods (physical, mental, emotional and social), so a mask mandate comes with drawbacks, but no upside.
LOOK OUT OF THE WINDOW, CHRIS. COVID-19 IS NOT UNDER CONTROL
“Officials need to get away from the idea that vaccinations are a completely effective stand-alone solution.”
He’s got that right. They’re not in the least bit effective. They don’t stop infection, transmission, hospitalisations or deaths. But they do affect the immune system, making people more susceptible to all diseases. Like masks, COVID jabs come with drawbacks, but no upside.
“We need the full spectrum of public health messages in play to keep COVID-19 under control.”
Umm…Look out of the window, Chris. COVID-19 is not under control. And you think messages are going to change that? Does the advocacy media think it is under control?
He added he thought the public briefings should return to make the public aware of the latest facts and figures on how prevalent the virus has become, and make it clear what they are doing “to proactively protect the nation’s health beyond just vaccinations.”
Yep. Good idea, Chris. Just keep those lies coming. The problem with having people like Papadopoulos in universities is that there is a chance that people who attend his lectures may accept his utterances without critical analysis, at which point his message will spread. Of course, the same goes for those who read his comments in the media. To his point about making the public aware, it would be nice if the advocacy media actually published data that is meaningful, instead of a lot of white noise. (To be fair, UK data provides a lot more information than Australia’s)
Dr Papadopoulos’ warning comes the day after a government health minister, Lord Kamall, warned that a change in some policies might have to be considered – including the free lateral flow testing scheme and mandatory face masks – in order for the NHS to deal with the backlog in patients.
I don’t see how testing can improve the backlog, but maybe one of my readers could explain.
He told the House of Lords: “They [health officials] are still focusing on the backlog.
If it gets to a point where it is affecting the backlog then clearly measures may well have to be introduced.”
Asked why the government hasn’t reintroduced free COVID tests for everyone in England and financial support for those who self-isolate, Lord Kamall replied that some in the health system believed funds would be “better spent elsewhere given the backlog due to lockdown”, instead of free testing.
He added: “It is always a difficult trade-off between where you spend this money.
He’s right there. There are often trade-offs and it’s often difficult. And – credit where credit is due – it is nice to see that his comment about lockdown causing the backlog reported.
“All this will continue to be monitored. Should the number of cases spiral out of control then clearly we would look to reintroduce free testing at some stage if it needed that.’
Here’s a tip: Don’t waste money on tests or masks.
How will tests – free, or otherwise – help stop cases spiralling out of control?
As for financial support for those who self-isolate, is there another disease where people have been paid for self-isolating? Colds? ‘Flu? Measles? Smallpox? Self-isolating is the sensible thing to do, as well as a public responsibility.
Advocacy Media Present Deceptive Information
From the same article:
Despite a decline in new cases throughout the spring, the growth in infections has been driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of omicron – which now make up more than half of all new COVID cases in England.
The increase in new cases has also resulted in a rise in those being admitted to hospital.
Latest government figures show a 33% rise in hospital admissions over the past seven days compared with the previous week, with over 11,000 patients being admitted for treatment.
Most hospital patients who test positive for COVID-19 are being treated primarily for something else, rather than the virus.
Do you see what they’ve done here? They’ve segued from talking about COVID to not talking about COVID, but in such a way as to suggest they still are. Clever, but deceptive.
The talk is Omicron cases now being predominant, leading to increased COVID cases, leading to increased case admissions and there has been a 33% rise in hospital admissions. That last bit. That’s where the disconnect is introduced.
“Most hospital patients who test positive for COVID-19 are being treated primarily for something else, rather than the virus.”
Most of the increase in admissions is for something other than Covid. That’s a really important bit they slip in at the end. It belongs at the top.
But they will need to be kept isolated from those patients who do not have COVID, putting extra pressure on hospital staff working at an already overstretched NHS.
Earlier this month, new figures revealed a record high 6.5 million people were waiting for hospital treatment in England.
Again, the inference is that the size of the waiting list is to be blamed on COVID. The reason for the size of the waiting list is to be found in the problems with the NHS capabilities. The blame, if you wish it apportioned, sits partly with government funding – and I refer you back to Lord Kamall’s trade-off comments – and partly with government/public health department measures during the COVID outbreak.
As can be seen from the graph below, the NHS waiting list has been trending up for years, as have the waiting times; certainly all of the last decade. The exception was at the outbreak of Covid. There was a significant brief drop in waiting lists, with a subsequent uptick that quickly took the waiting times past their previous highs, with the uptrend accelerating.
What might cause that? Possibly it’s all the people that were removed from waiting lists at the outbreak in early 2020 re-joining the list. Perhaps it is an increase in illnesses caused by lockdowns. Perhaps it is an increase in illnesses caused by lowered immunity as a result of covid jabs. Perhaps it is illnesses directly caused by the covid jabs. Possibly it is an increase in serious covid illnesses due to lack of early treatment.
Advocacy Media Complicity
All of these are possible reasons, yet Advocacy Media are looking the other way. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.
Government/Public Health department handling of the pandemic – as with many governments around the world – has been woeful. Their stubborn continuation of policy is criminal. As is Advocacy Media complicity.