Accuracy in Media

Vox tells us that the Covid problems in Texas are all because of Republicans. No, really, if those pesky right-wingers would just do what the bureaucracy told them to, then things would be fine: “Texas’s fight against Covid-19 took a turn for the worse in December. And due to the state’s relatively low vaccination rates, and a Republican state government that has fought public health officials’ recommendations on masking, vaccine mandates, and business restrictions, matters may not improve soon.” See, it’s all because of Republicans.

Not because of, or because they are doing this or that, just because of Republicans.

Except, of course, it’s not that simple, as the New York Times points out:” At least 80 percent of staffed hospital beds were occupied in 24 states on Thursday, including Georgia, Maryland and Massachusetts, the figures show. More troubling, the data showed that in 18 states and Washington, D.C., at least 85 percent of beds in adult intensive care units were full, with the most acute scarcity of beds in Alabama, Missouri, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Texas.”

This is not to defend what is being done in Texas, nor to recommend what is happening elsewhere. It is though to point out that knee-jerk blaming of a Republican state government doesn’t work. The situation in Alabama (R), Mississippi (R), New Mexico (D) and Rhode Island (D) is very much the same – and that’s all whether we look at the Governor’s office or the legislature. If there’d been a 5-0 then we might possibly give some credence to political party being important here, but in a two-party system like the U.S., a 3-2 break is as close to equal as we’re going to get, isn’t it?

Vox bills itself as “explaining the news” and is an important source of information for the young these days. The site gains closing in on 25 million visits a month, they have a substantial video and YouTube presence and they’re inside the top 100 news media sites. They’re not just being typed up from some mother’s basement.

It’s entirely true that the Covid situation in Texas isn’t as anyone would like it to be. But to just blame it all on Republicans isn’t worthy of a news outlet. We’d also pass on a little bit of advice to Vox. When your reporting makes the New York Times look like a paragon of objectivity and political party even-handedness then it really is the right time to have a sit-down and a real good think about how you’re “explaining the news”.




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