We won’t leave this virus behind the way we canceled polio and smallpox. Doctors I have interviewed and other public health officials reckon that too many vaccine holdouts have, mathematically, prevented us from reaching COVID herd immunity.
Perversely, this speaks to the power of Talk radio, which has applied ample reach and frequency to anti-vax malarkey. Advertisers take note: Repetition works.
While history is happening, soreheads squawk.
Edward R. Murrow held a microphone to the ground in Trafalgar Square, to record the sound of people calmly walking to bomb shelters during the Nazi blitz. He told the world “This is London.”
“Oh no it isn’t!” modern radio and cable voices might retort. But back then, if you heard something on radio you could believe it. These days, vaccine doubt is fueled by commentators, some discreetly vaccinated, some whose lives COVID eventually claimed. Even Donald Trump mangled the message, admitting that he’s boosted (to boos at a recent rally).
When COVID-weary Conservatives opine that — “As far as I’m concerned, this pandemic is over!” – listeners hear “this pandemic is over.” We relinquish Medium of Record status.
We’re witnessing The Story of Our Lifetime, times two.
On their own, either the pandemic or Climate Change would qualify; and we are enduring – and disserving – both, as attention-hungry overstatement blurs information and opinion.
With battle lines SO drawn, obstinacy is extreme. As 200+ died and millions of other Texans froze during a storm that clobbered a state power grid proudly detached from the national network, former governor – and Energy Secretary! – Rick Perry proclaimed “Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business.” Good thing that’ll never happened again, eh?
Remember the Marx Brothers gag? “Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?”
On my TV show, Talkers magazine publisher Michael Harrison noted how the mantra on Climate Change has shifted from “It’s not happening” to “WE aren’t making it happen.” Cue SFX: tap dancing.
The prevailing pivot on vaccination? “I got the jab. But NOT because I was told to. It was my choice!” As Omicron romps, the narrative has retreated to loathing mandates. Rather than talking about COVID, we’re talking-about-talking-about COVID.
We’re weary of masking.
All of us. And the virus loves it.
“First, do no harm,” doctors are sworn. A Hippocratic Oath for media need not violate the First Amendment we otherwise abuse by amplifying nonsense.
To quote Murrow’s sign-off: “Good night and good luck.”