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Media blameless in COVID chaos…NOT

 

Media blameless in COVID chaos…NOT

John Best

The great thing about being a reporter is that you can always be right. Doug Ford faced a hostile news conference yesterday, from a press gallery that seemed to be implying by their questions that the government hadn’t moved quickly enough with lockdown provisions as the third wave of the COVID exploded, and then when it did impose lockdown measures last Friday, they were the WRONG measures. Colin D’Mello of CTV suggested Ford “had blood on his hands”—in a departure from recognizable journalism– and decency, for that matter. One alert Twitter poster noted that its was D’Mello’s CTV that took down former PC leader Patrick Brown, thus creating the opportunity for Ford to become premier. Some of the same press gallery that think Ford was slow with lockdown provisions, were only a few days ago asking the premier, why this sector of the economy had to be shut down while some other sector was allowed to be open. We don’t have herd immunity yet, but we have herd mentality for sure.

This is not to whitewash Ford. There’s no question he has made mistakes, even though we have yet to hear a coherent accounting of just exactly what it was that Ford did too much of or too little of, or did too late that brought us to this point—just a general sense that he screwed up. Even the 1800 doctors who issued an urgent open letter suggesting immediate changes in the Ontario COVID response, listed a number of suggestions that are already taking place. Speaking of doctors, we have now created a stable of media-friendly TV doctors who are automatically assumed to know more than the doctors advising Ford. I mean, what chance has the sometimes-incoherent Dr. David Williams got pitted against the likes of dashing Dr. Isaac Bogoch?

What’s lost in all this is the main reason the numbers are rising is still too many individuals are not following the public Health rules. When one reads the list of outbreaks from Hamilton public health—lets take yesterday as an example–there were 128 new cases. Only 20 of them were the result of new outbreaks and maybe 10 others occurring in places where there were existing outbreaks. That means 90 cases took place either in public places, or more likely in private gatherings—somebody’s living room, rec room or wherever. If Ford were to make that point, Andrea Horwath would accuse him of shifting blame. And let’s not get started with the NDP leader who never saw a problem that couldn’t be solved by creating more public sector union jobs. Somebody should do a poll asking Ontarians who they would rather see running the shop during the current crisis—Doug or Andrea. I guess Ontarians will answer that question in next years election.

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