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EDITORIAL – Yes, Virginia, there is a pandemic; it’s not just media hype

(Image: CFJC)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

‘THE HONEYMOON PHASE’ is an odd way to describe what’s going on with COVID-19 right now but it describes the public’s attitude to the healthcare experts who are trying to get us through it.

Provincial and federal health officers currently enjoy the confidence of the public.

That might not last much longer. We’ll start demanding that “more be done” and begin questioning decisions. Already, questions are being asked about whether measures are being taken quickly enough.

It’s human nature to want to blame someone for our woes. Right now, the closest target is the news media.

The media are always a convenient scapegoat. So it must be the media causing the panic buying in grocery stores, spreading misinformation about the virus’s severity, and causing the stock market to plunge. And the best one of all — this whole pandemic is just media hype.

If we add “social” in front of “media” there’s some truth to these suspicions. Social media are awash with phony information about the pandemic, including bogus cures, the origins of the virus and exaggerated claims about the death toll.

Mainstream media, on the other hand, with some exceptions, have been a Godsend in trying to interpret the straight goods. They hand us the information and it’s up to us to figure out what to do with it.

There’s so much information out there right now that the World Health Organization has a word for it — infodemic.

We shouldn’t be in such a rush to blame the mainstream media. Quite the opposite — we should be thankful we have them. As the news keeps getting worse, we’ll need them more than ever to get those daily and sometimes hourly updates from medical health experts and sort out fact from fiction.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (7706 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – Yes, Virginia, there is a pandemic; it’s not just media hype

  1. I get so tired of the media bashing and the accusations of “fake news” leveled at media that have been out there on the front lines, so to speak, through good and bad. I agree putting social in front of media is where the disinformation, exaggeration, and out right lies are coming from. I rely on credible news sources because there is an overwhelming amount of information out there. Thanks for this level-headed commentary.

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