Clarence Page: Donald Trump cannot put his genius of “fake news” back in his bottle |
In case you missed it, dear reader, here is a word from the wise: Do not eat horse paste.
Unless, of course, you’re a horse.
This farmed treat comes from the Federal Food and Drug Administration in a warning to humans considering the drug “horse paste” ivermectin, a drug used to deworm cattle, instead of getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
“You are not a horse,” the FDA tweeted. “You are not a cow. Seriously, all of you. Stop that.”
That’s right. Stop that. On the same day, the FDA announced full US clearance for the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, removing a primary excuse given by a group commonly referred to as “vaccine hesitants.”
This long-awaited good news came days after another rare development: Donald Trump asked a rally in Alabama for a shot – and was booed for it.
“You know what? I totally believe in your freedoms,” he said and the crowd cheered. But some of the applause turned into boos when he added, “I recommend: take the vaccines! did – it’s okay Take the vaccines.
“It’s okay, it’s okay,” he said, reading the somewhat confrontational mood of the still whispering crowd. “You have your freedoms. But it happened to me to take the vaccine.
Then, with the skills of a seasoned comedian, he defused the moment of tension with a joke: “If that doesn’t work, you’ll be the first to know, okay?”
OKAY. But this startling reaction from the Make America Great Again (MAGA) crowd revealed a big reason Trump has so far been so reluctant to invite his supporters, the most reluctant political group in the polls, to get the hang of it. . He doesn’t want to offend his base.
The irony of this fear is how much it has kept him from doing something he usually enjoys doing, taking credit for certain things. Thanks to its “Operation Warp Speed” project, this country has developed the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine in record time.
Its success would have benefited greatly from its early public approval. Instead, he encouraged some Republican governors, particularly Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas, to join the anti-vaccine condemnation of gunshots and masks as attacks on “freedom.” .
Either way, I find it hard to believe that the freedom to risk spreading disease and death is exactly what the founders of this nation had in mind. But the result has been devastating for thousands of victims of a pseudo-information contagion that the World Health Organization calls an “infodemic,” a confusing wave of false or misleading information across a variety of media. during an epidemic.
In another tragic irony, three conservative radio hosts who had spoken out against vaccines on the air died in August with COVID-19: Dick Farrel, based in West Palm Beach, Fla., Phil Valentine, of Nashville and the prophecy professor Biblical Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, Sr.., of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
“That’s why I took the picture,” Amy Leigh Hair, a friend of Farrel’s, wrote on Facebook. “He texted me and told me to ‘get it! “He told me this virus was no joke and he said, ‘I wish I had caught it!'”
Me too. His policy was well to the right of mine, but no one deserves to be fooled by false COVID-19 news, even if they played a role in spreading it.
But, as Trump may be discovering, once you let this “fake news” genius out, it’s impossible to reverse all the damage it can cause.
Research on “infodemia” finds what you might expect. Fueled by confirmation bias, we can be seduced by information that matches what we want to hear, even when more reliable sources tell us what we need to hear.
To push back when an infodemic seems to take hold of your friends or loved ones, psychologists tell me it’s often best to put them in touch with a family doctor or other knowledgeable people who already have their trust. . It works much better than horse paste.
Tribune content agency