Thursday, July 30, 2020

What Passes for Journalism

journalism, noun. The activity, occupation, or profession of writing for newspapers, magazines, or news websites or preparing news to be broadcast.

Houston doctor Stella Immanuel rapidly became an internet sensation, defending the use of hydroxychloroquine to combat COVID-19. Almost as rapidly she because the brunt of jokes, mocking her weird ideas about reptilians and demon sperm. The latter mockery was not just a fun outing, but designed to invalidate what she said about hydroxychloroquine. What Dr. Immanuel said about hydroxychloroquine is that it works, that all 350 patients she had treated with hydroxychloroquine have survived.

Here’s what I noticed. Anybody with a computer can search and find something strange someone has said. Almost everyone will agree that Dr. Immanuel has said some strange things about various subjects. What a real reporter could do, though, is actually research the actual statement Dr. Immanuel made about the actual subject. In two “demon sperm” articles I read, the authors attacked some weird ideas Dr. Immanuel holds – but DID NOT debunk her claim of helping people with hydroxychloroquine. That is the relevant question to COVID-19. That is what a journalist ought to research and report on. Is that claim valid? Did it work? What has happened with her 350 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine? It is  telling that the authors could not or would not address it.

Why? Dr. Harvey Risch, epidemiology professor at the Yale School of Public Health says, “It’s a political drug now, not a medical drug.” This is largely due to the fact it has been touted by President Donald Trump. I don’t want political reports about medical issues. In real time and real life, what matters me is the accuracy of the doctor’s claim that all 350 patients she had treated with hydroxychloroquine have survived. A mechanic may have some weird ideas about the moon, but can he fix a car? A chef may think chickens are aliens, but can she whip up an excellent chicken cordon bleu?

What passes for journalism in 2021 seems to be political opinion parading as fact.

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