The COVID-19 misinformation campaign

By Edward Achorn

A new Franklin Templeton-Gallup research project bears out what I have been reporting for months: the media have misinformed Americans about COVID-19. While the disease is both nasty and deadly, a daily panic narrative has led people to grossly overrate its dangers.

That has powerful, and perhaps frightening, economic and political consequences.

Sonai Desai, chief investment officer for Franklin Templeton Fixed Income, wrote about the survey on July 28 (“They Blinded Us From Science”). (A cautionary note about the survey: Franklin Templeton pushes mutual funds, so it has a stake in promoting economic activity.)

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Far less deadly than Americans think

By Edward Achorn

It is good to be safe. But it is bad to be overwhelmed by fear, to the point you end up hurting yourself and others.

We got there with COVID-19. The data suggests the news media and the politicians (of both parties) scared Americans inordinately about the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China.

A recent Kekst CNC poll found that Americans believe 9 percent of the population has been killed by the coronavirus.

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Cities mugged by reality

By Edward Achorn

Is it possible that politicians, after stoking hatred and division, are having second thoughts about rioting in their cities?

Months of massive Black Lives Matter protests — threatening police (“pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon”) and calling for their defunding — have spun off rioting and looting. Neighborhoods have been wrecked, with billions of dollars of investment in cities destroyed. Black businesses have been wiped out, and black people killed.

As residents with money flee for safer places, some leaders fear their cities may never recover.

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Death dumps make Americans fearful

By Edward Achorn

Earlier this summer, I posted charts showing dramatic declines in deaths from COVID-19, according to data collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I hoped that people would feel less panicked if they could see the big picture — something most of the news media were not showing.

“What’s wrong with you?” asked some of my Facebook friends.

They argued that it was the Sunbelt’s turn to experience the crowded hospitals and death spikes that New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts had endured in April. They warned me that events would soon render my piece embarrassingly obsolete.

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Who elected Twitter and Facebook to censor speech?

By Edward Achorn

I have spent my professional life defending the First Amendment and the free-speech rights it enshrines. It is the bulwark of all our freedoms.

The attacks on it are proliferating alarmingly. Now, the most powerful social media platforms — which function as today’s public square — are arrogantly silencing a U.S. president.

If a president’s right to be heard in the public square may be freely assaulted, who is safe? This is extremely dangerous to self-government and the perpetuation of our civil rights.

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Canceling the debates

By Edward Achorn

Will the raging cancel culture now cancel the presidential debates? A former press secretary to Bill Clinton hopes so.

Joe Lockhart argued the other day that Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden should not participate in any forum in which President Trump can express his views.

“We saw in the debates in 2016 Hillary Clinton showed a mastery of the issues, every point she made was more honest and bested Trump,” Mr. Lockhart told CNN. “But Trump came out of the debates doing better I think because he just kept repeating the same old lies: ‘we’re going to build a wall and Mexico is going to pay for it,’ ‘we’re going to keep all those Mexican rapists out of the country,’ and ‘we’re going to make great trade deals’ — none of these things have come to pass.”

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Americans oppose the riots

 By Edward Achorn

 The Summer of Hate shows no signs of abating. Night after night, people are being injured or killed and property destroyed. Thousands of young Americans, after being locked down for months, are erupting with savagery and destruction.

This has gone on for two months now.

As a historian of the Civil War, I can see where it leads.

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The recent COVID-19 scare

By Edward Achorn

My thanks to Andrew Bostom, M.D., a Brown associate professor, internist, and epidemiologist, for this latest chart of national COVID-19 deaths.

The revised numbers do display that, after deaths fell for 10 straight weeks, America underwent a slight and unnerving uptick earlier this month. The raw numbers, as of July 27, are HERE.

The recent turnaround prompted near-hysteria in the news media, leading to new and economically damaging lockdowns. Americans were terrified.

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Americans are walking on eggshells

By Edward Achorn

Freedom of speech is the bulwark of all our liberties. Take it away — no freedom.

It is being taken away.

Strategies developed at universities to silence dissent and drive out those who support freedom have infiltrated our culture. People are being fired, doxxed, threatened, punched, smeared, and otherwise bullied for expressing views that were once at the heart of America.

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Stop destroying children’s lives

By Edward Achorn

The science is crystal clear. Children should return to school in the fall. They are remarkably safe from catching COVID-19 and from spreading it.

Cheating them of an education and social development again this fall would be incredibly cruel.

Yes, the news media have scared many people out of their wits. Polls find many parents are terrified of sending children to school. Teachers unions and other political entities hope, as always, to exploit these fears to advance their own interests.

But I pray it is still possible for parents and leaders to muster enough courage and decency to focus on children. Young Americans need thoughtful and well-informed adults on their side.

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