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Swine flu coverage was sensational because Media thought it was crap too... OMG SWINE FLU WILL KILL US ALL IN THE FALL. Plus Headlines of the Week
Posted by Drew at 2009-05-04 12:14:56 PM, edited 2009-05-04 12:26:39 PM (170 comments) | Permalink
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8636 clicks; posted to Main » on 04 May 2009 at 12:31 PM (7 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



One week after writing my original article on how the swine flu isn't going to kill us all, the numbers bear it out: ONE new death since last Monday, compared to around 700 people (on average) who will die of the regular flu in a seven-day period. The vast majority of people get over the swine flu on their own with no hospitalization necessary.

Do we get an apology for MSM sending droves of people to hospitals who aren't sick? Driving down the stock market several hundred points on panic selling? Scaring people into cancelling air travel because they might end up in an enclosed space? Causing a run on ammunition and guns by people expecting the apocalypse? No, we get another load of hysteria: swine flu will kill us all next fall. See, it's going to go on summer vacation and come back as Spanish Influenza and wipe out the entire human race. It's happened before. Doubters will be the first to die. No apology for you.

Compare swine flu coverage to the way suspicious explosions in New York City are covered. Almost immediately, MSM reassures us that there is no evidence of terrorism. Do we know what caused the explosion? No, but there's no evidence of terrorism. From the getgo, MSM takes a calmer approach: let's not get crazy here, be calm, wait for the facts.

Next time there's a flu outbreak I'd love to see similar coverage. Please don't go to hospitals unless you really have to because they're busy. Don't fret about the stock market, it's a buying opportunity. No need to cancel air travel, wash your hands a lot and don't stick your fingers in your nose. This is not the apocalypse, we'll get through this. Don't panic.

Here's why we didn't see media coverage aimed at calming people: MSM never believed this was a real threat in the first place. Notice how coverage tone changes when something serious really is going on. "Be calm, don't panic, wait awhile, see what happens." As opposed to pure media-fueled hysteria like shark attacks, bacteria on doorknobs, killer bees, kudzu, white sugar, and so on.

Headlines Of The Week for Sun 2009-04-26 to Sat 2009-05-02:

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  Man gets called into work so he can be fired, returns home to find his house on fire. Wishes he had been laid off    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  Lighthouse keeper opens the most isolated café in Scotland. While I respect that a lot, I'd be fired if that were my job, after killing Jason off and countless screaming Argonauts    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  Newest thing in car tech? Device that limits teenagers from driving over 80. Back in my day, we called that a Chevette    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  High on a hill hiked a naked trekker / Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo / Townspeople said "Cover up your pecker" / Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  Buddhist preacher issues etiquette guide for gay monks. What is the sound of one hand reaching around?    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  Fewer Americans are adopting Chinese children, mainly because they'll just want to adopt again 30 minutes later    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  Car Flu kills at least 41 in Baghdad    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  Adolf Hitler's family won't see any money from the sale of his paintings, since their past efforts raised a little furor    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  The more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support torture, with white evangelical Protestants most likely to condone it. Jesus facepalms, glares disapprovingly through the little hole    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  Pentagon using Facebook and Twitter to recruit new employees, because if there's one thing the military needs it's someone who posts every minute detail of their life on the web    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  Search continues for blind hiker who has been missing for 7 days and 14 nights    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]


Sports:

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  To: The Yankees - Subject: "You suck " - From: The Tigers - CC: Sabathia    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  Mexico decides to conduct a bunch of soccer games the way we do in the US: With no fans in the stands    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  Kentucky Derby fans endure three hours elbow-to-elbow with drunken, sweaty idiots wearing ridiculous clothing just to get two minutes of action, much like submitter's prom night    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]


Geek:

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  Apple and Verizon may be in talks to produce a device that might "shake up the tech industry." Insiders say it will be called the iPerbole    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  Ice chunk larger than the state of Rhode Island breaking off of the Antarctic shelf. Yay, Rhode Island's back as a unit of measurement    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  Experts warn that the Internet is running out of bandw    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]


Showbiz:

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  Maagie Gyllenhaal aand Peter Sarsgaard aanounce maarriaage plaans for Itaaly in Maay. The aacting couple, daating aas of 2002, aalreaady haas aa daaughter named Raamonaa    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  World's largest tub of popcorn being constructed as a promotion. You can wash it down with the world's largest cup of soda, also known in the movie theater business as a "medium"    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  Papa of African girl to Madonna: "I've made up my mind, I'm keeping my baby"    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]


Politics:

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  "Citrus plot" makes paranoid Iranians so fearful of Israelis they look for conspiracies in oranges, are still blaming everything on the juice    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  Obama secretly tested for swine flu after man he shook hands with in Mexico drops dead the next day. Officials concerned because Obama's touch usually heals    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  White House apologizes for Biden's swine flu comments, Manhattan fly-by, President Bush, New Coke, destruction of the Library at Alexandria, and for calling time-out with 11 seconds left in the game when they were out of time-outs  


Music:

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  Some Geek creates a song based on the components of the H1N1 virus. Still not as catchy as "Baby, Can You Dig Your Man?" (link to mp3 file in article)    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  What do you do with a rural road said to have little bumps, tight curves and accidents seem to be cousin' a pile up? Name it after Jerry Lee Lewis    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  New movie chronicles history of NYC punk club CBGB. Farkers under 25 think that store has some really cute clothes    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]


Business:

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  US Airways to add a fee for paying a fee. Don't hold your breath that this will go away, unless you want to start practicing for the day they start charging for air    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  Citigroup asks for Timmah Geithner's blessing to pay corporate bonuses, on this, the day of his daughter's wedding    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]

[image from img1.fark.net too old to be available]  We don't make a lot of the things you buy, and that's kind of our problem. BASF    [image from img.fark.net too old to be available]
· · ·


170 Comments   (+0 »)
   

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | » | Last | Show all
 
2009-05-04 03:49:47 PM  

Pooter: Meanwhile, since April 1st, approximately 3.4 million people have died from hunger, worldwide.


3.4 million is a statistic, putting a name and a face to a heandful of deaths gets alot more attention. Why do you think the MSM likes to parade around dead soldiers, missing white girls and pictures of school shooting victims?
 
2009-05-04 03:49:53 PM  
i248.photobucket.com
 
2009-05-04 03:57:51 PM  
You sure come off as a biatch Drew. You want to change the thing that is making you money. If every news story was exactly like you wanted there really wouldn't be a good reason to have a link to that particular article.

Your next blog post should talk about the headlines posted to fark that not only stretch the truth of the article they link to, but completely fabricate it in some cases. I think they get the green light because they make you more money, you get more hits, more comments on that particular story. Why do you feel the need to allow sensational, inaccurate headlines to slip into the normal, funny-but-true headlines we normally see on the main page.
 
2009-05-04 04:23:42 PM  

bride_of_adam_cole: You sure come off as a biatch Drew. You want to change the thing that is making you money. If every news story was exactly like you wanted there really wouldn't be a good reason to have a link to that particular article.

Your next blog post should talk about the headlines posted to fark that not only stretch the truth of the article they link to, but completely fabricate it in some cases. I think they get the green light because they make you more money, you get more hits, more comments on that particular story. Why do you feel the need to allow sensational, inaccurate headlines to slip into the normal, funny-but-true headlines we normally see on the main page.


I don't think you understand what Fark.com is, troll.

It's "Not" news.
 
2009-05-04 04:27:37 PM  
Which news channels are you all watching that have been making a big deal of this? Our local channel did a piece Friday or Saturday saying "Two students at W&L are quarantined, one has been confirmed to have H1N1, and the other is under precautionary watch. They were both in Mexico for spring break, but no one knows if they came back together or even hung out in the same places." Followed by one last night stating "W&L is now confirming a second case of the virus."

Sure, occasionally the blurbs say "Deadly virus" instead of just virus, but it does have that potential. They aren't telling people to rush out and by plastic covers for their windows, and rolls of duct tape.

Do I know enough about immunology or virology to determine how this will play out? Not a chance. I follow medicine from the patient side, I know just enough to know where to look for more information; Merck Manual, Google, Wiki for sources in the citations.

Do I think there is anything to worry about right now? Nope. We are watching out for it because we are all laughing at the media panic. But, when flu season comes around and this virus is not in the vaccine, that will be the time to worry. The CDC is pushing for a vaccine within 6 months, but I have my own doubts about that. For bureaucratic and safety reasons.
 
2009-05-04 04:30:02 PM  

jasonmicron: I don't think you understand what Fark.com is, troll.

It's "Not" news.


I'm tired of this circular argument. You're assuming what's trying to be decided; i.e., is Fark news? You say because Fark says it's not news, then it's not.

If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, then it is most likely a duck. Fark aggregates news by posting links with funny headlines. How, exactly, is that not news? The made up headlines, of course, are not news, unless they accurately represent the facts presented in the article, then they are news.
 
2009-05-04 04:31:42 PM  
www.explosm.net

Seemed fitting somehow
 
2009-05-04 04:37:44 PM  
Frank Anthrax

Your login is pushing eight years of existence and you haven't figured out the point of Fark.

No, I will not help fill you in. It's too late for that.
 
2009-05-04 04:44:52 PM  

ultraholland: Frank Anthrax

Your login is pushing eight years of existence and you haven't figured out the point of Fark.

No, I will not help fill you in. It's too late for that.


Mm hm.... Clearly its purpose is to rally against the "mainstream media" by, um, linking to articles provided largely by the "mainstream media." And also, lots of fun stuff too.

I have been with Fark from the beginning. I have always used it as a news/media aggregator.

It's news with snarky commentary. But it's still news, no matter how much you quote the banner.
 
2009-05-04 05:00:47 PM  

jasonmicron: bride_of_adam_cole: You sure come off as a biatch Drew. You want to change the thing that is making you money. If every news story was exactly like you wanted there really wouldn't be a good reason to have a link to that particular article.

Your next blog post should talk about the headlines posted to fark that not only stretch the truth of the article they link to, but completely fabricate it in some cases. I think they get the green light because they make you more money, you get more hits, more comments on that particular story. Why do you feel the need to allow sensational, inaccurate headlines to slip into the normal, funny-but-true headlines we normally see on the main page.

I don't think you understand what Fark.com is, troll.

It's "Not" news.


You don't think it is. That's your opinion. I personally consider Fox News to be "Not" news as well. I take the information they report on with a grain of salt and check with more reliable places before I trust what Fox News releases to the public.

What qualifies something as news or "not" news? Does me stating on a message board that Fox News is full of misleading information qualify it to no longer be considered news? Are they free from ridicule now because of my personal opinion or are there still thousands of people watching Fox News every day and taking all the information they release as truth? Just because I don't trust a fraction of the information they air as legitimate news doesn't mean someone out there doesn't consider them their only source of daily information.

If Drew wants to take a stand against misinformation in the media he could start by refusing to link to any articles that he considers sensational or probable to causing undue panic. He could hit them in the pocketbooks. It isn't much but if everyone feels the same way Drew does and enough people stopped acknowledging fear reports things might slowly start to change. The last link posted before this one dealing with swine flu was to CNN and 5708 people clicked it. It's a small number overall but it's also 5708 hits on CNN because they saw the article posted on fark. CNN sees the traffic and know that the article has people viewing it so they continue to release the same type of reports. It's what the people want.
 
2009-05-04 05:46:48 PM  
Bacon lung? Bach swine? Nonono.....as my dear wife called it today: Hamthrax
 
2009-05-04 06:00:55 PM  
Drew, while you are correct about media hype, you're all washed up about the seriousness of this flu outbreak. Until you have a course of two in advanced virology to your credit, perhaps you shouldn't be criticizing the world's experts in this area. This swine flue outbreak may taper off and go away, but the WHO is becoming more convinced that it won't. The flu season is effectively over, yet we're seeing daily increases in the number of cases. If this virus survives until the next flu season - and it appears likely it will - it will be a real pandemic. We'll have cases in the tens-of-millions, with significant mortality. No one should be surprised about this, since we are long overdue for a flu pandemic.
 
2009-05-04 06:02:15 PM  
and this is bothering me:

"Here's why we didn't see media coverage aimed at calming people: MSM never believed this was a real threat in the first place. Notice how coverage tone changes when something serious really is going on. "Be calm, don't panic, wait awhile, see what happens." As opposed to pure media-fueled hysteria like shark attacks, bacteria on doorknobs, killer bees, kudzu, white sugar, and so on."

You mean calming and factual coverage like this?:

Swine flu cases in Calif. worry health officials (Apr 21, 2009)
CDC: Swine flu seen in 2 California children (Wed April 22, 2009)

Examples of calm rational things like (from the CNN story):

""We've only got the two cases to go on and both kids recovered on their own, so that's certainly good news," says Tom Skinner, a CDC spokesman."

look at this rational suggestion:

"Skinner says "we're still early in the course of learning about it, but as far as the general public goes there's nothing they need to be doing differently today than what they were doing yesterday when it comes to their knowledge and behavior about preventing flu."

...which sounds a lot like, "Be calm, don't panic, wait awhile, see what happens."

OK, so they were serious about it at first because they kept everyone calm and gave factual information, told people not to panic, etc. When Drew posted his last Blog on April 27th he throws the "EVERYONE PANIC" out and makes fun of how "MSM" is blowing it out of proportion. So I'm thinking maybe a CNN article from around April 25th will give me some of this LOL PANIC!!! that Drew is talking about.

More cases of swine flu reported; WHO warns of 'health emergency' (April 25, 2009)

Wait a minute, that seems pretty damn rational as well. A news agency reporting a quote from the WHO is fair I would think. They let us know that everyone has recovered or is expected to. They also suggest that people with similar symptoms stay home from work or school and go to a doctor. No panic.

How about on the 26th?

CDC: 8 New York students have swine flu April 26th 2009

Damn, still rational.

The 27th has to have it. The day Drew talks about the panic.

Swine flu creates controversy on Twitter (original story on April 27th, updated multiple times days later)

Wow, CNN is talking about how people get information during health emergencies. They give numbers detailing how many die from the "regular flu" compared to the swine flu on a yearly basis.

Where are these "MSM" reports he is talking about. Is CNN considered "MSM" or are they not mainstream enough. Who qualifies this "MSM"? Drew?
 
2009-05-04 06:03:51 PM  
We created a Swine Flu app for Facebook, mainly because I was sick of all the hype and thought it would be funny. It's nothing much - you just get a note on your feed saying you got the swine flu in what we thought was an obviously joking manner, and you can infect your friends. That and you can enter in where you are from and see how it progresses. Pretty basic. I just wanted to see if the virtual swine flu could outpace the real swine flu. And I wanted to make a bit of a joke about all the media hype.

The sad thing is, we got far too many people who thought that we actually had the swine flu despite the fact that the note encourages you to "infect your friends!" and displays a pig with an icepack and thermometer. Some people remarked that they didn't want to get the swine flu...I can't believe that they actually thought a Facebook app could give them the disease. Maybe they thought it would bring on the disease as some sort of Karmic response? While others thought it was some sort of new computer virus. I'm not even sure if that's possible with a Facebook app. We're certainly not that clever.

Anyway, we got about 500+ users over the past few days. Not enough to pass up the real swine flu, but we'll see. I was really surprised at the general reaction to what I had thought was a harmless bit of dark humor.
 
2009-05-04 06:18:29 PM  

wylkyn: We created a Swine Flu app for Facebook, mainly because I was sick of all the hype and thought it would be funny. It's nothing much - you just get a note on your feed saying you got the swine flu in what we thought was an obviously joking manner, and you can infect your friends. That and you can enter in where you are from and see how it progresses. Pretty basic. I just wanted to see if the virtual swine flu could outpace the real swine flu. And I wanted to make a bit of a joke about all the media hype.

The sad thing is, we got far too many people who thought that we actually had the swine flu despite the fact that the note encourages you to "infect your friends!" and displays a pig with an icepack and thermometer. Some people remarked that they didn't want to get the swine flu...I can't believe that they actually thought a Facebook app could give them the disease. Maybe they thought it would bring on the disease as some sort of Karmic response? While others thought it was some sort of new computer virus. I'm not even sure if that's possible with a Facebook app. We're certainly not that clever.

Anyway, we got about 500+ users over the past few days. Not enough to pass up the real swine flu, but we'll see. I was really surprised at the general reaction to what I had thought was a harmless bit of dark humor.


Try herpes next time...
 
2009-05-04 09:27:09 PM  
Ebolabody Panic !!!
 
2009-05-04 10:01:01 PM  
Well, just as long as no one posts a link to a crappy cell phone video of swine flu killing someone, I think we'll be fine here.
 
2009-05-04 11:02:56 PM  

Frank Anthrax: I have already expressed my views on this, and won't repeat myself, but I'll summarize: he is saying that we should not worry, when much of the evidence is to the contrary. I would further contest that the media is providing a "craze." You cannot say for certain that the public effort to limit the spread is a "placebo."


What, exactly, is the point of 'worry' on the part of the general public? Anything people can do to prevent the spread of the flu, like washing hands frequently, staying home when sick, and going to the doctor if they're really sick, they should be doing anyway. Constantly telling people that they should be 'concerned' does nothing except spread fear, because ultimately there is nothing the average person can realistically do to help the situation.

The people know they are powerless, but they are scared. That's why they line up at the ERs, demanding drugs that aren't available for diseases they don't have. The public should be informed, not agitated. When the media takes a situation like this and beats it to death from every possible angle, with stories full of inflated or outright bogus statistics, creatively used quotes to make the situation seem far more dire than it really is, and every imaginable worst-case scenario while failing to put the events in perspective of all the other things that happen on a daily basis, all it does is inflate the public's powerless sense of impending doom.

The people who should be concerned are public health workers, emergency management officials, and others who are directly responsible for monitoring and managing new outbreaks. It is their actions that will determine the course of the outbreak. They are the ones who should be rehashing worst-case scenarios and checking hour-by-hour statistics, because they are the only ones in the country with the ability to actually do anything about it. They should be leading the public through the media in a calm and productive manner, not chasing after the runaway bus of public hysteria yelling 'wait, everybody calm down, quit flooding the ERs, we're not all dying!!'.
 
2009-05-05 08:33:25 AM  
Where is everybody?!
 
2009-05-05 12:19:44 PM  

theredsea1: Where is everybody?!


28 days ag#`%${%&`+'${`%&NO CARRIER")
 
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