Government misinfo has sparked a steep decline in the public’s trust
Before becoming host of “The Tonight Show” on NBC, Johnny Carson hosted ABC’s “Who Do You Trust?” hosted a show called This is a question many people are asking when it comes to their government, scientists and politicians.
Maybe an updated version to whom can do Are you confident?
Misinformation and disinformation are now being exposed regarding the latest lies about the origin, prevention and treatment of the virus that causes Covid-19.
The latest comes from the Department of Energy. Labeling its conclusions “low confidence,” it is the first disclosure by any federal agency that initial allegations that the virus originated from a laboratory leak in Wuhan, China may have credibility.
FBI Director Christopher Wray has since come out to say that the Covid pandemic was “probably caused” by a Chinese lab leak.
when The story was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan claimed that there was no “consensus” in the intelligence or scientific communities about the origin of the virus. Since when did lack of consensus prevent them from reaching a conclusion?
When consensus has been reached, it has often been wrong (ie, the missed Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Bay of Pigs attack in 1962, the Tet Offensive in Vietnam in 1968, the Yom Kippur War in 1973, the Iranian Revolution in 1978, the 1979 (The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.)
Let’s not forget the 50 retired intelligence officers who agreed that the Hunter Biden laptop story was part of a “Russian hack” operation. Joining the pile-on was Hillary Clinton, who then-Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) was a Russian “asset.” No one apologized for these lies and neither did their media supporters.
The list of misinformation and lies is long. They included masks (good, not good), school closures (effective, ineffective), vaccinations (prevent infection, then don’t, but wear masks anyway), social distancing (effective, but then not so much).
There was an overwhelming consensus among the “experts” – anyone who disagreed with them was a conspiracy theorist, a denier, wore a tin hat and was stupid and racist.
The media has aided and abetted the critics by calling them names to silence the “experts”. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was a particular target. Cotton’s view that the virus came from a Chinese lab led to a New York Times headline “Repeats fringe theory of coronavirus origin.” The Washington Post ran an almost identical headline: “Tom Cotton keeps repeating a coronavirus fringe theory that scientists dispute.” Many others agreed.
On Feb. 20, the Post published this half-hearted statement without an apology: “Earlier versions of this story and its headline contained inaccurate comments by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) about the origins of the coronavirus.”
Then there Dr. Anthony was the “I am science” Fauci who made dubious and shifting claims, rejecting the statements of anyone who disagreed with him.
The Post has compiled a list of misinformation that comes from supposedly reliable sources. They include vaccination immunity is better than natural immunity; School closures reduce Covid transmission; The vaccine has no side effects; Young people benefit from a vaccine booster; Vaccine orders increased vaccination rates, and, of course, the origin of Covid from a Wuhan lab is a conspiracy theory.
The The Pew Research Center has studied Americans’ Trust in Government: “When the National Election Study began asking about trust in government in 1958, nearly three-quarters of Americans trusted the federal government to do the right thing almost always or most of the time. . . . Public confidence reached a three-decade high in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but declined quickly thereafter. Since 2007, those who say they can always or most of the time trust the government have not exceeded 30%.
Is it any wonder?