With so much questionable rhetoric, why do our journalists not ask more questions?

I have written earlier on the phenomenon I call the silly billy effect, where if a large enough majority of a society has been convulsed with fear over something which quickly turns out not to warrant that fear, they will go to considerable lengths to perpetuate the myth to which they subscribed at the outset, to avoid the indignity of feeling like a silly billy. In the case of Covid, that has entailed a concerted effort by the media and those ‘advising’ (in reality ‘running’) the government to exaggerate the severity of the disease, and gloss over or actively conceal the cost of Covid policies, and the damage they are inflicting upon our society and economy.

A favourite tactic of the mainstream media has been to never, under any circumstances, provide any statistical context to the data they report, whether it’s numbers of new cases, deaths, hospital occupancy or a host of other metrics. We are told that x number of new cases were recorded yesterday, or that y deaths occurred ‘with Covid’ (itself a contentious metric), or that z% of hospital capacity is being used, but never how x, y, and z relate to obvious comparators like daily flu cases in a bad flu season, or the number of deaths from all causes on a normal Australian day, or the typical occupancy rate for Australian hospital beds. Simply comparing our case numbers with those in other countries such as UK, which imposed similar lockdown rules would serve give some perspective to our tiny caseload. But the UK numbers, if they get a mention on the news, are not remarked upon

This insistence on naked, undenominated statistics has reached a pitch of absurdity in Australia’s current ‘surge’ in Covid cases. As the charts below show, our case numbers are so tiny as to be scarcely amenable to statistical analysis. To the extent that they are, they show a disease progressing pretty much as any other virus. Now, it may be true that our tiny numbers of cases are the consequence of lockdowns slowing of the spread of the virus, but there is ample evidence from around the world that once Covid becomes endemic, it will eventually take its toll, however hysterically our latter-day King Cnuts command the tide to recede. That being so, it follows that our present lockdowns are merely prolonging the agony of Covid, at ruinous cost, and to little or no advantage in terms of overall morbidity.

Ah, say the lockdown enthusiasts, but our hospitals are already running short of beds – if we let up on lockdown, we’ll get a rash of cases, and our hospitals will be overloaded. Yet the UK, with its vastly greater caseload, seems to be coping OK. The ‘Nightingale’ hospitals it built at enormous cost have scarcely been used. How can it be that the tiny numbers we are experiencing are straining our resources? Again, this is a question we never see asked by the credulous journalists of the MSM.

In the early days of the Covid outbreak, SBS News set a fine example by accompanying reports of new cases with numbers of recovered patients. It wasn’t much, but it was at least an attempt to balance their reporting. It quickly disappeared, however, and now, as The Spectator’s James Allan laments, “…why are our journalists so sheep-like, pro-lockdown, and wholly insouciant about the worst erosions of our civil liberties in this country’s entire existence?

Since mid-July, Australia has been gripped with fear of this disease, stoked by daily reports of ‘record’ new case numbers:

Scary, huh?

Now look at Australia’s case numbers next to those of the UK. I’ve chosen to start my series at 19th July, because that was the day that UK lockdown effectively ended. Here’s the chart – but immediately we can see there’s a problem; the trend of the blue line – Australia’s daily new cases – is barely discernible, such is the disparity in scale between the UK’s caseload and our own. Remember, these are cases per million of the population – apples for apples. And a glance at the chart shows just how far we have to go before we reach the point at which the UK threw the towel in on its doomed bid for elimination.

At the beginning of the Covid scare, Australia was able to isolate itself from the rest of the world to the extent that we were able to persuade ourselves that we could dodge the virus altogether. But it was always only a matter of time before it caught up with us. Now that it has, and we have, in effect, joined the rest of the world, it’s time that we started to learn from the rest of the world – if we don’t, we’ll be locked down for years.

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