Why I’m so angry talking about coronavirus (Opinion)
I appreciate our listeners. I appreciate when they call the show. I appreciate when there are disagreements because it keeps things lively and makes you challenge your own conventions.
The pandemic came along and division that had already been happening in this country worsened. Somehow (my guess is it would start with Trump claiming the virus was a Democrat hoax) COVID-19 became politicized.
In the course of countless hours covering the virus and its impact, I’ve been called a lot of bad things for taking it seriously and for believing in established science. I’ve been called “the station’s lib” even though I’ve voted for far more Republicans in my life than Democrats. I’ve been called “brainwashed” for trusting solid journalism and organizations like the Centers for Disease Control, and for not believing Bill Gates is behind some plot to put tracking systems in our vaccines.
I’ve been told when someone disagrees with me I am angry.
Here’s what is true. I don’t get angry when someone disagrees. I get angry when someone lies.
Stay with me here. This is important. I said in week one of this pandemic hitting New Jersey that there were, no doubt, at high levels of government, meetings happening where the uncomfortable subject of an acceptable number of dead was the topic. Just like what happens in automotive engineering when they have to weigh safety advances between cost and lives. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve never subscribed to the ‘if it saves one life’ mantra.
So if people call the show and admit coronavirus is real but the economy should not be shut down even if one million Americans die, I have never gotten angry at that. If people call the show and say they don’t care about those with underlying conditions or the elderly and that they consider this a survival of the fittest, a thinning of the herd if you will, while I disagree, I’ve never gotten angry at that.
What I get angry with are the lies people call in with. Opinions and facts are different things. A fact is the pandemic in the United States is exploding. An opinion is even though it is exploding you don’t believe in restrictions of any kind.
A lie is the pandemic was over in April.
A lie is children don’t contract coronavirus or don’t die from it or don’t spread it.
A lie is only people with underlying conditions can die from coronavirus.
A lie is masks do nothing to slow the spread.
A lie is 99% of those infected survive.
Let’s just take that last one. It’s close to being right, but it is wrong. As I write this there are 13,800,000 cases in the United States and 271,000 deaths. Do the math. That’s a 98% survival rate. Close enough you say? Sure it’s very close, but stating this inaccuracy is to say half these deaths never happened. If 99% were right then 135,000 Americans would still be alive. I’m not going to disrespect half the dead coronavirus victims by lying. There are over 64,000,000 cases worldwide. Of those 46,142,987 are closed meaning they either recovered or died. The rest are still infected. Of those closed cases, 1,490,720 died. That’s 3%. So that’s 97% survive not 99%. Is it close? Yes. Again, close is not factual. And close disregards two out of every three coronavirus deaths on the planet.
I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to lie about numbers. And I’m not going to let people call in and broadcast lies. Opinions are one thing. It’s the lies that make me so angry.
Because lies are dangerous. We’re in a pandemic with more than a quarter million dead Americans even WITH all the precautions taken. Imagine where we’d be without?
Lies are dangerous because they spread as easily as this virus. Lies are dangerous because people end up turning their backs on the very science that is trying to save them. Lies are dangerous because people are dying due to them. Radio stations exist primarily for the reason of crisis. We’re licensed by the federal government with the understanding that we can play our Sia and Megan Thee Stallion songs and put on our little sports shows and talk shows and sell advertising and have fun and make a living, but that if it ever hits the fan we are expected to drop the nonsense and provide critical information during a national emergency.
You can’t do that by lying.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.