Listen now (7 mins) | Headlines matter
Thanks Eric. I loved the point about social media consumers reading headlines and not the story. Yep, that's a real problem with social media. And the framing of headlines. Same is true of chyrons, that electronically generated caption superimposed on the television screen. (2019 "Trump cuts aid to three Mexican countries").
The community you created here at Press Run are news consumers who learned to read past the headlines, and turn to reliable sources for information. I lost count of how many of your readers recognize the danger of "if it bleeds it leads" headlines. I am sure we will see it again today.
Thank you for the important work here, it helps with all the nonsense we must endure.
I wish that we had some sort of media literacy program in public schools. Reading only the headlines-only is like gluing a Mercedes medallion on a Yugo and thinking you had a lux ride. Even if everyone just had a class writing headlines, it would be an improvement in our media literacy. Headlines ARE hard!
One of the things I wonder about is why (our failed political press) is focused on J&J. This past quarter the stories focused on 1) the delays in FDA approval, 2) the lower efficacy (but not the trade-off with the one-and-done), 3) manufacturing problems (at a subcontractor plant, not with the vaccine’s component parts), and now 4) blood clotting in a statistically minuscule number of cases.
I would almost think that the press owned stock in Pfizer.
WaPos Jennifer Rubin joins Eric with her recent column and prediction re: the impact the press will have on how the public will react to the J & J pause. Bingo. Sell clicks or help the public/country? How sad that the study Eric cites below confirms what we already knew. Another mark of shame for the negative slants the mainstream press puts on such a serious and impactful story. Ugh.
Of course there are people who have a negative perception of the vaccine. The press has deliberately downplayed or ignored the successes while waiting for something toxic and destructive to report. It’s ridiculous and infuriating, and rightwing news consumers are not saveable. They want toxic and destructive. They want validation for Trump and all the other GOP leaders trying to bring this country down. They’d rather drag this pandemic out for years than admit Biden and Democrats are doing a great job and are better for the country, and admit they made a bad choice.
This problem lies squarely on the shoulders of the mainstream media, who refuse to give reality based coverage meant solely to inform about a public health crisis, preferring to amplify rightwing talking points of scandal, anxiety and fear.
Excellent song choice today. We will succeed in this, in spite of them.
You said it best Eric! "It was a bit ironic Tuesday to watch reporters repeatedly press White House officials at the daily media briefing about whether the J&J pause will increase vaccine hesitancy, while never addressing the role the press might play in that phenomenon" Let's scare the bejesus out of those vaccine hesitant people out there. MORONS.
Antivaxxer sites are running with the misinformation.
Which is what Republicans and their CCCP stooges want.
The press are such alarmists. Where in their reporting is the fact that blood clots in people in general occur much more often than 6 out of seven million? I'm not saying that the CDC is wrong for pausing the vaccines. The fact that they have, as Dr. Fauci pointed out this morning on MSNBC, shows how the CDC and the pharmaceutical companies are concerned about public safety. But yet the press is raising concerns in such a way that it feeds into the anti-vaxxer narrative. I'm sure this is on purpose because for far too long, the press is not interested in real information, just using fear to drive sales or in today's world, as many clicks as possible.
I use to consume a ton of news passively. Before I discovered you on Twitter I would scream into the ether with the constant “both sides” like yesterday when John Boehner tried that sh*t like Bolton before him. Regarding J&J, I did see this statistic today: “the risk of blood clots on a flight: 1 in 6000
The risk of blood clots with the J&J vaccine < 1 in 1 million”. Perspective! Man, oh man! Eric, you’ve helped me to be more critical in my analysis since news is flying at us so fast!
As Ezra Klein said on Twitter: "Is it possible that the FDA is going to increase vaccine hesitancy here, rather than lower it? Definitely.
Let's say, in three days, they clear J&J totally. Will that get the news coverage the pause did? Will it fully end the fears the public now has? I doubt it."
We already went through this entire cycle when Europe paused the AstraZeneca vaccine. As far as I know, it was even the exact same side effect, and yet no stories I've seen or heard (including this one!) even mentioned it, let alone noted that the pause had ended.
Sensationalism sells, and news is a commercial commodity. I'm not sure if blaming media for producing what people are buying (or, more specifically, what advertisers know people are looking at) is enough, though I can't generally fault your efforts, Eric. But I think the real problem is much, much deeper than the "information ecosystem". (Or is that "echosystem"? 😉)
Are you a Covaids vaxx skeptic?
I usually find your commentary so insightful but really think you missed the train on this one. The extreme rarity of the possible side effects from the J&J vaccine is exactly the point that many journalists (and regular people who want to be safe from the pandemic and to save lives worldwide) are emphasizing to question this decision, which seems extraordinarily extreme given the scenario. Were there not other options, such as warning doctors to watch out for this rare issue while continuing to offer the vaccine and noting there is no sign of any issues with men or anyone over 65? Asking how many people won't get the J&J vaccine or any vaccine at all because of this "pause" is not anti-vaxxer. It's common sense and public health officials absolutely should take it into account when making their decisions.