On toilet paper shortages and the need for a media reckoning when this is all over
Yesterday I wrote a post about a professor who said he felt safer in China than the US during the Coronavirus outbreak. It should be noted that this was published by NBC.
Arfcom has a thread going about the US media carrying water for the Chinese government. In the last few days, the media has been screaming at us that calling it the “Chinese Coronavirus” or “Wuhan Conronavirus” was xenophobic and racist. This is apparently a Chinese Govmernet talking point because the Chinese Government wants to distance themselves from the outbreak.
This morning I see this Tweet from CNN sentient potato Brian Stelter:
Surgeon General Jerome Adams used the word "need" while talking to the WH press corps. So I will too. He needs to spend his time educating the public about how to protect each other, not lecturing the press about what’s newsworthy. https://t.co/1beTbBHZPW pic.twitter.com/VXFYkD19H9
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) March 15, 2020
This is what he said:
“We really need you all to lean into and prioritize the health and safety of the American people,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams said at Saturday’s White House briefing. There’s nothing controversial about that — news outlets are empowering the public with health and safety information. But then Adams said this: “No more bickering, no more partisanship, no more criticism or finger pointing. There’ll be plenty of time for that. But we all need to hit the reset button and lean into moving forward the health and safety of the American people…”
What Adams called “bickering” and “criticism” is what most of us call accountability. Is there value in focusing on the future? Yes, but when Adams said he wants “less stories looking at what happened in the past,” I hear him saying “stop exposing the Trump administration’s failures.” There is value in all of the coverage. And government officials don’t get to decide that — readers and reporters and whistleblowers and editors do.
So Stelter admits that he is biased and projects his own anti-Trump hatred onto what the Surgeon General says.
The media would rather run with “make Trump look bad” than anything helpful to people.
Yesterday I went to the grocery store. There was no milk, bread, and toilet paper, and hardly any eggs.
Why is this happening?
Because the media is fucking dog-shit awful to a degree that is hard to fathom.
If the media were responsible, this is what they would be covering:
The toilet paper shortage started in Australia. Australia imports about 40% of its toilet paper from China. This has led to panic buying under the theory that Australia will run out of toilet paper with Coronavirus shooting down Chinese exports. Also, the domestically produced stuff is a little rough.
The United States, however, is more than self-sufficient on toilet paper and paper products in general. About 90% of US toilet paper is produced domestically. Most of the rest comes from Canada.
There is a reason for this. The United States has millions of hectares of harvestable forests in the Pacific North West. When you wipe your ass with a fluffy brand name two-ply paper, you are wiping your ass with some of the finest maple, oak, pine, and douglas fir ever cut down by American lumberjacks.
Chinese export shutdowns are not going to interrupt the toilet paper supply chain.
The is the same for food. In 2016, 87.3% of US food consumed was produced domestically. What we import is mostly specialty items like wines, cheeses, tropical fruits, and exotic items. Our staples are almost entirely US grown.
More than that, many of your staple items are produced within a couple of hundred miles from where you live. The milk I buy in Huntsville, Alabama, comes from a dairy in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, all of 112 miles away. I know, because I checked the milk code.
If you live in New York City, your milk probably comes from upstate New York.
There is no reason to horde milk or toilet paper or bread because of the Coronavirus.
The media covered the Australian toilet paper hoarding and failed to explain any of this and people panicked and the shortages began.
Once there was a shortage of one staple (toilet paper) it caused people to horde other items and eventually, it cased a societal cascade failure.
So because of the media’s malfeasance and desire to make Trump look bad no matter what, we end up with this:
People should stop this toilet paper crap. There’s enough toilet paper for every person on this god forgotten rock floating in space. pic.twitter.com/s2m9k8ttrb
— Max Howroute (@howroute) March 13, 2020
Rather than telling Americans that it’s not worth fighting each other over the last package of toilet paper in Target like its guzzoline in the wasteland, they are reporting shit like this:
Worst-case coronavirus models show US death toll at over 1.5 million https://t.co/qHTBGv4jSg pic.twitter.com/VTFXpvFw5I
— The Hill (@thehill) March 14, 2020
Actual responsible journalist, Heather Mac Donald published an article at The New Criterion that is worth reading.
So far, the United States has seen forty-one deaths from the infection. Twenty-two of those deaths occurred in one poorly run nursing home outside of Seattle, the Life Care Center. Another nine deaths occurred in the rest of Washington state, leaving ten deaths (four in California, two in Florida, and one in each of Georgia, Kansas, New Jersey, and South Dakota) spread throughout the rest of the approximately 329 million residents of the United States.
By comparison, there were 38,800 traffic fatalities in the United States in 2019, the National Safety Council estimates. That represents an average of over one hundred traffic deaths every day; if the press catalogued these in as much painstaking detail as they have deaths from coronavirus, highways nationwide would be as empty as New York subways are now.
As of Monday, approximately 89 percent of Italy’s coronavirus deaths had been over the age of seventy, according to The Wall Street Journal. Sad to say, those victims were already nearing the end of their lifespans. They might have soon died from another illness. No child under the age of nine has died from the illness worldwide. In China, only one individual in the ten-to-nineteen age group has succumbed.
An example: there were 34,200 deaths in the United States during the 2018–19 influenza season, estimates the cdc.
This is outstanding reporting putting common fatalities into perspective.
If you are under the age of 70, you are statistically more likely to die in a car crash on the way to the doctor to get tested than you are of Coronavirus.
Remember that data from 2002 shows that 1.7 million people got a Health Care-Associated Infection (when you get an infection going to the hospital because you are surrounded by other sick people) and almost 99,000 people died from those infections.
That is what killed my dad. His cancer was in remission from the chemo, but that made him immunocompromised, not to mention that he was a 62-year-old diabetic. He went to the hospital, got pneumonia, turned septic and died.
It seems much more likely that an elderly patient going to the hospital with Conronavirus will die from a staph or strep or MRSA infection they picked up in the waiting room than of the virus itself.
Italy and Spain are on quarantine and lockdown.
In 2003, 15,000 Europeans died of heat-related illnesses from a heatwave. France suffered almost 1,500 deaths due to heat from a two-week heatwave in 2019. Most of those who died were over 75-years-old.
It seems that the leading underlying cause of untimely death in Europe is being elderly.
But that reporting does not generate panic clicks, cause people to sit in front of the TV for hours waiting for updates, or make Trump look bad, so the major networks won’t run it.
When the dust settles and we figure out just how much damage was done to our economy and the fabric of our society because of media malfeasance during the Coronavirus outbreak, I think there will be hell to pay.
March 15, 2020 at 03:40PM