Democrats and News Media Made a Big Bet Against Texas Reopening, But Will They Be Forced To Pay Up If They Lose?

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images One of the most underrated drivers of our unprecedented reaction to the Covid-19 virus is the perverse in...


Greg Abbott

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

One of the most underrated drivers of our unprecedented reaction to the Covid-19 virus is the perverse incentive structure surrounding the extremely influential predictions of the “experts.” Thanks largely to the grossly one-sided manner in which the news media universally views this story, projections of doom and gloom are far more incentivized than those that are more optimistic.

You can be the governor of California, be the first to shut down your state based on a ridiculous projection of impending monumental catastrophe, be completely wrong, and get nothing but praise from the news media for having helped keep the worst-case scenario from ever happening (even though that outcome was never remotely plausible). Conversely, if you say that things are not actually going to be that bad, and that there is no need to radically alter life through governmental restrictions, you take the grave risk of being labeled an anti-science murderer and being “canceled.”

Because humans in general, and public figures in particular, are always more likely to do what is in their perceived self-interest (as opposed to what is right), there is little contest when it comes to which direction the “experts” tend to go. It is just a whole lot safer — not to mention more newsworthy — to predict the worst, especially when there is little downside to being wrong because the news media will conveniently forget it ever happened, or even suggest that the pessimistic projection itself caused people to “behave,” thus helping to overt the tragedy.

In short, betting on Covid calamity is usually a “heads I win, tails you lose” proposition. Which is why the overwhelming majority of “expert” forecasts have been wrong on the side of pessimism, and how the head of the CDC felt more than comfortable dramatically warning of “impending doom,” even though much of the country has either already been vaccinated, or will be shortly (the media never seems to point out this bizarre contradiction, which has administration officials often come off as rabid anti-vaxers).

Most recently, Texas has somewhat taken the place of Florida as the lockdown-lovers’ favorite target for ultimately inaccurate desires for disaster. This is because, at the start of this month, their governor, Greg Abbott, had the audacity to announce that statewide restrictions, including the mask mandate, would be lifted.

The reaction among Democratic and major news media figures was both swift and unambiguous. It was as if Texas had dared to question their religion by deciding to stop their rain dances during a drought because the data was clearly indicating they do not actually work.

California’s Gavin Newsom called it “absolutely reckless,” New Jersey’s Phil Murphy said Texas removing their mask mandate was “unfathomable,” and President Joe Biden, who got elected promising “unity,” outrageously referred to what Abbott did as “Neanderthal thinking,” before again pleading earlier this week for such restrictions to be re-imposed there and in other red states. Not surprisingly, the major news media went right along with this anti-freedom narrative.

Since then, we have started to see the results of a mostly free Texas and, at least so far, Abbott has been vindicated to the point where he is already starting to spike the football (one of the many ways the pro-lockdown forces are protected by the media from ever being seen as wrong is that they can always say “just wait two more weeks!”). In fact, one of the more bizarre aspects of Biden’s plea to reinstate mask mandates is that the states which are currently “spiking” are Democratic states in the north, while the southern, mostly Republican, states are seeing continual decreases, especially when it comes to the critical, though largely forgotten, metric of hospitalizations.

Why is this the case? There is a multitude of rational explanations, most of which the major news media has no interest in because they are not consistent with their preconceived notions, and tend to reveal most of their coverage from the last year as having been, at best, based on false presumptions.

Much of what we currently see happening could be simple seasonality combined with certain areas (like here in California, which clearly had the virus earlier than most) obtaining more “herd immunity,” with the help of vaccinations, sooner than others have. Under this way of thinking, mask mandates themselves are mostly political theater, and the Democrats’ REAL agitation about some red states ending them is that doing so may very well definitively expose the absurdity of the entire endeavor, one which is at the very heart of Biden’s anti-Covid platform.

Of course, it is also still possible that Texas is just getting temporarily lucky and that eventually their sins will be punished by the Covid Gods. However, the Florida example continues to suggest, very much to the news media’s consternation, that governmental lockdowns do not make much positive difference in the long run.

Regardless, these highly negative and often wrong predictions are not without significant consequences. They clearly slow the reopening process on many levels, especially when it comes to the real world where too many parents and teachers are still far too scared for schools in much of the country to go back to any semblance of normalcy.

This is why the news media must stop this cycle of allowing the “doomsday” crowd to constantly spread fear without any concern for personal ramifications. When they make a bet this big and lose they should be forced to pay up in the form of media criticism and loss of credibility.

What is currently happening in Texas provides a perfect opportunity for this destructive cycle to finally be broken. Though given the media’s lack of self-interest in doing so, we should not expect that to actually happen, which is exactly why ever returning to normal is going to have little to do with the actual state of the pandemic.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Democrats and News Media Made a Big Bet Against Texas Reopening, But Will They Be Forced To Pay Up If They Lose?
Democrats and News Media Made a Big Bet Against Texas Reopening, But Will They Be Forced To Pay Up If They Lose?
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