“It’s easier to fool people than convince them that they have been fooled,” Mark Twain.
Brilliant quote, you best believe it. Here’s the ha-ha irony, I fooled you. There are no sources of information to prove where or when the well-documented author Mark Twain allegedly said this. At least, according to snopes.com. Unless they’ve fooled me of course, which is possible. Nevertheless, it’s a great saying, and as we’re locked up, we rely on the honesty of incoming information from our media.
But the mainstream media is under pressure, they are a business in an everchanging market where nothing is cut and dry. Speed and efficiency are key, it takes far longer to research, write, fact check, edit, produce, publish and distribute then it does to add a wonky opinion on social media, their ultimate competition. Because of this then, I forgive the certain local newspapers, and any other news sources who reported Wiltshire is due another lockdown, maybe they jumped the gun on this, or maybe, there’s a dying need to raise stats. We are in the same boat, please share this click-bait article!
Expressed as a percentage, yes, the R-rate in Wiltshire has risen, and caused our county to be added to a list for a potential second lockdown, but as reporter Dan O’Brien points out on Twitter, context is everything. Lab-confirmed cases went up from just one to four, a drop in the ocean compared to other listed areas. If this is bullshit, if this is a mistake or oversight, or even if it’s clickbait, it is dangerously wrong information with no consequence other than scaremongering.
Example, in the flowing social media comments in response to it I’ve already seen one suggest “it hasn’t helped with people rioting and trips to the beach.” Because, yes, one cannot deny the coastline of landlocked Wiltshire has been densely overpopulated with barmy beach nuts this drizzly week, and oh, we cannot forget the terrible race riots of Urchfont and Chirton, when the streets were amassed with rampaging village immigrants.
“For crying out loud, put the face mask over your nose and mouth, not your eyes and ears!”
Lockdown rules have become the new etiquette, and habit now. No one is suggesting we don’t need to take precautions, heed social distancing and the higher your risk the more important you continue as best you can to abide to the lockdown rules. But we need to be wary also, of new reports either rushed or bias, we need to understand if someone tells us it’s vital for our nails to be pedicured during lockdown, they’re most probably a nailologist desperate to reboot their business, and I feel for them, I really do. Yet a government with external business dealing doing likewise, feeding the masses false information to benefit their investments is unacceptable. Not only should they have a responsibility to the people they govern, the tax-payer forking out for their wages, their luncheons and newly painted aeroplanes, but they have sway over a vast amount of media. Here, we can see the media were wrong and the in my opinion, can only be scaremongering.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, the good folk of Wiltshire, by comparison, have been nothing short of brilliant in reacting to this terrible pandemic, and we should be proud of that. You do need to talk to people from other places to see the difference it has. I have spoken to many who live in the coastal towns and they say the same complaint, “you wouldn’t believe what I’m seeing here.” Of course, reasons why we’ve done so well is a whole other debate, there’s our mostly rural population, our affluence and our good values and education, but most of all I put it down to, in most part, simply being sensible and abiding by the rules.
Yep, teenagers, they say, yep, I know right, yet aren’t we all getting tetchy to get out and restart our lives? Don’t blame the youth, I’ve seen pensioners secretly nipping out for walks at night, I’ve seen middle-aged shoppers blatantly ignoring social distancing measures, and, in turn I’ve seen younger people obeying and even volunteering to help. Idiots come in all shapes, sizes and ages; You. Know. This. Best we can do, is continue for a little longer, and not use our media to seek someone to blame.