The mainstream media coverage surrounding the coronavirus has rarely been subtle, but this latest report may take the cake for most hysteria packed into a sub-three-minute television hit.
Good Morning America did a segment this morning on the supposed “double mutant” COVID variant that is being found in places like San Francisco. What followed was a mix of some outright misrepresentations and a whole lot of fear.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 5, 2021
“Double mutant” sounds really scary, but what is really being talked about is a variant from India. The current vaccines are effective against it, just as the current vaccines protect against the much-ballyhooed B117 variant.
GMA does a few things that are just blatantly misleading in this clip. For one, they note an Alabama basketball fan who died of COVID complications after he attended the NCAA tournament. That’s supposed to show the dangers of attending sporting events, but what they fail to mention is that the timeframe between his death and his attendance was just a few days. Therefore, it is essentially impossible that he got COVID at that specific event and then suddenly died from it. He had to have contracted the virus in the weeks prior because there is an incubation period. Of note, he was also an obese individual, which is a risk factor everyone should be careful with.
This report also decries the Texas Rangers allowing full attendance. What they don’t say is that the stadium has a retractable roof that will be opened and that the outdoor spread of the coronavirus is almost non-existent. That kind of fear may sell, but it makes little logical sense. There are far more likely spread vectors to worry about than an outdoor baseball game.
The reporter goes on to say that daily cases are up 20% in the last two weeks in the country. That’s true, but as usual, context matters. Where are the cases up? Well, there’s a large surge going on in Michigan, New York, and other Northeast states. Those states have heavy mitigation measures, including mask mandates. Instead of having Dr. Anthony Fauci explain the discrepancies, GMA decides to just play him spreading more boilerplate about the risk of “variants.”
By the end of the segment, they even managed to let it be known that Joe Biden disapproves because that’s vital information or something.
As I’ve said before, I have no problem with being cautious when it makes scientific sense. I do have an issue with media networks taking things out of context, misleading viewers, and spreading fear porn instead of just giving people a real picture of what’s going on. This new “muh variants” narrative is not helpful. If a variant is combated by current vaccinations, then it simply not something to panic about. But with cases waning across most states and vaccinations accelerating, the media need something to keep the fear flowing.