We’d feared this and warned about it. Telling people to “follow the science” when it isn’t making any sense is just asking for pushback:
Mainstream news outlets have gone after COVID-19 conspiracy theorists with a passion. But when it comes to equally important science topics, they have no problem ignoring evidence and promoting conspiratorial nonsense. This blatant hypocrisy causes confusion and fuels the public’s skepticism of science more broadly…
It’s not surprising that journalists make mistakes when covering complex science topics. Given the many pressures they face, simple oversights were forgivable. But the media regularly complain about the so-called “infodemic” plaguing the internet in our post-COVID era. They criticize social media companies for promoting anti-vaccine content and psychoanalyze people prone to accepting coronavirus conspiracies. Rather shamelessly, the Washington Post has also offered tips to stop yourself from spreading “misinformation.” And the Guardian has even recommended “10 ideas to rebuild our broken internet.” Let’s add an eleventh: take your own advice and stop running sloppy stories because they attract eyeballs.Cameron English, “Cameron English” at American Council on Science and Health
Great links there, illustrating English’s points.
Consider the science in yer trusty news hack’s environment:
In Ontario, the schools were shut but in BC they were open. In Ontario the churches were open but the schools were shut. In both provinces, the bars were open. In Quebec, there was a curfew, seriously enforced with many arrests.
From all this, the trusty Follower of Science can glean: All variants of coronavirus are teetotallers so they never go to bars. The Ontario version is Woke so it has joined the war on literacy and numeracy. The BC virus is cool with literacy and numeracy but hates religion. The Quebec virus has tiny viral wristwatches that tell it the time so it can attack people at night.
Pretty dense information packing for a virus featuring 900 bytes.
But Following the Science gives us the Strength we need to Go On Believing and stifle doubt. Doubt is the Enemy of Science. Right?
Eventually, science becomes indistinguishable from elite-approved superstition.
See also: What your news feed will look like if Big Tech runs it. Reading Elkus’s essay, one wants to ask, “Who is the collective ‘we’ who are supposed to be out of control?” The pundits demanding crackdowns on social media seldom accuse themselves of bad social behavior; those who dispute their views are always the guilty ones.