The following is adapted from our weekly newsletter. To get early access to bonus content, sign-up for it here.
Even in normal times it is hard to figure out what information in the news is true and what information is made up for partisan gain. This is not the worst thing in the world though, because most people are woke to the fact that 99 percent of what they see on TV is fake news, so they adjust accordingly. For example, whenever I hear President Trump quoted by the Fake News Media, I do what most people do and ask “is this a harmless out of context quote or is this a situation where the President has lost his mind and actually believes what he is saying?” Sometimes the results are surprising.
However, now that the coronavirus is here, the stakes of being able to pick out which “facts” are true and which “facts” are totally false have gotten high. Honestly it could cost you your life to be wrong. This is a global problem and not just the result of Trump occasionally being a pyscho.
For example, the World Health Organization looks more like the World Bonehead Organization due to this tweet, which was probably based on some fake news from Emperor Xi’s regime in China:
Talk about a total boner move. Probably every country in the world got a slow start preparing for a pandemic once “The World Health Organization” said that COVID-19 was basically just a sick joke that a few bats in China played on some chumps in Wuhan.
Then there was the Trump’s Administration’s initial guidelines to slow the spread of the disease by limiting social gatherings to 50, then to 10, and finally to 2. Tbh, anytime someone tells me that 10, 50, or 100 is the magical number, I know that they have no clue what is going on and just picked the easiest figures for people to comprehend.
However, this week we saw the best fake news story of the entire pandemic. We went from this:
Holy shit. How dumb do these people think we are? Obviously doctors and nurses wear masks because they work. Obviously every single person in Wuhan wears a mask because they work. I personally just don’t get why the government couldn’t play this one straight and say, “Look, we know you want a mask. But we don’t have any and the people who need them are in hospitals.”
I guess people can be selfish and maybe they would have bought all of the available stock. But on the other hand, maybe people would listen to the government more if they didn’t assume that 99 percent of what it said was hooey.
But now being able to trust “facts” is getting important. The country has been shutdown for a month and people are getting wrekt. Meanwhile, there are scientists and journalist who are producing statistics that say we are “flattening the curve” and that COVID-19 might not be nearly as deadly as thought — just extremely contagious. Like Ricky Martin hits in the ’90s contagious. I hope they are right but the experts and the government need to win some trust from consumers before they are going to be willing to stand in line at Chipotle again. It sounds to me like we are in for a slow and steady re-building process, where people gradually return to cranking beers with 1 or 2 others and rebuild their trust in crowds over months. I hope this process is way better than the tragic improv act that we’ve been seeing since coronavirus arrived.
BTW – we’ll be sending out a bonus newsletter next week when one of Dr. Dawg’s serious columns drops in a serious publication. We’ll also include a podcast with the boys in that batch.