By Thomas Richard
Fareed Zakaria, in the latest issue of Newsweek, wonders how the media, researchers, and scientists got it all so very wrong on the extent of a swine flu pandemic that was to infect ‘millions’ and cause untoward worldwide damage:
Three weeks ago the World Health Organization declared a health emergency, warning countries to “prepare for a pandemic” and said that the only question was the extent of worldwide damage. Senior officials prophesied that millions could be infected by the disease. But as of last week, the WHO had confirmed only 4,800 cases of swine flu, with 61 people having died of it. Obviously, these low numbers are a pleasant surprise, but it does make one wonder, what did we get wrong?
He has his theories on how this issue garnered so much media attention, and posits:
Once we see a problem, we can describe it in great detail, extrapolating all its possible consequences….They [the researchers] described—and the media reported—what would happen if it went unchecked.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because the exact same scenario happened with so-called man-made global warming. With one important difference. A lot of money is being made from the climate change scare. Some have estimated it to be in the trillions. There is no doubt it’s in the billions. A swine flu vaccine is $10 (once created) and even free depending on your health plan. You can’t build a cottage industry around a summer flu. You can build one around something you can’t prove is happening, is still a theory, and can be blamed for every one of mankind’s ills. Zakaria wraps up his take-the-media-to-the-woodshed commentary by reminding readers that history is our greatest teacher when it comes to media scare tactics:
We have learned from history and built some reasonably effective mechanisms to handle crises. Does that mean we shouldn’t panic? Yes, except that it is the sense of urgency that makes people act—even overreact—and ensures that a crisis doesn’t mutate into a disaster.
As the Waxman-Markey climate tax bill heads to the senate and ultimately to Obama, as mileage standards bring us closer to less-safe cars, and green groups use CO2 rulings to further their own agendas, perhaps those same folks in the media who continue spreading unnecessary panic will take a moment and learn from history. Before the non-existent crisis that is global warming leads us further to economic disaster.Source