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Monday, 23 November 2020

Daily Mail Promotes Covid Denier Wacko

Far from being “a force for good” - a sick joke if ever there was one - the Daily Mail under the supposedly new broom of editor Geordie Greig is proving no less a purveyor of fake and misleading stories than when it was under the less than benign leadership of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre - and especially on the Coronavirus pandemic.

While our free and fearless press bombards us with good news stories about the arrival of vaccines which will hopefully reduce transmission of Covid-19 to noise floor levels, the reality is that the virus is still present, people are becoming infected in worryingly high numbers, and many are becoming hospitalised. More and more are dying.

That's all the Mail knows about its trusted source

So it is vitally important that the press works to eliminate misinformation. That idea is yet to take hold at the Mail, which was called out by 2017 entrant Tory MP Neil O’Brien today for using a doctored graph in suggesting to readers that deaths right now are barely any higher than before the pandemic (see his thread HERE).

This graph relies on seriously dodgy data

O’Brien is clearly more cautious than many in The Blue Team on Covid-19, and describes the source for the doctored data as “a cranky Covid-denial twitter feed”. That isn’t the half of it: the contents of that feed, calling itself “The Statistics Guy Jon”, should not have been allowed anywhere near a mainstream national newspaper. Even the Daily Mail.

Conspiracy nonsense

Why that should be is not hard to find. Take this sample Tweet. “Please note: this way of looking at the data, adjusted for record weeks and population presents a less scary picture than the government would like you to have. This will mean that this will be a suppressed tweet. Up to and over to you as to whether people get to see it”. There has been no suppression. But he does let you know how he’s fiddling the figures.

Unsourced claim

How about spreading scare stories about Government information? Yes, he’s there too: “Since 1st August the Government have been more likely to over report deaths on their Covid Dashboard than before. Reported Deaths have been accurate just seven (7) times from 138 reports. Accuracy rate 5%”. No citation. And nor will there be.

Paranoid drivel

He Retweets Martin Daubney’s Unlocked UK, which features the likes of Michael Yeadon, who has claimed that the pandemic is over. And he does a good line in rank paranoia: “Wrong Think… A new crime. Disagree with the government’s [sic] and you will lose your [youtube channel] [twitter account] [facebook account] Only officially censored questions allowed now. Different opinions will not be tolerated. You have been warned!

Speculative rubbish

Oh, and “Admissions for covid are estimated to be twice the actual number. Up to 50% are normal hospital admissions who are tested on admission for another condition who also showed no symptoms of covid and are not being treated for Covid”. No citation. Again.

Get the tinfoil hat

One last burst of paranoia? Yeah, why not? “From the moment you are born in the UK you are placed on a register, that register notes where you live, taxes paid NI, jobs you had, where you were eligible to vote, bank accounts etc. This is no dystopian negative future of 1984, this is fact of Britain since 1980s … Your health record everything, this data is accessible to all ministers. How do you feel?” I feel like this idiot is certifiable.

The Daily Mail should not have gone near him. Force for good my arse.

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Stephen said...

Why would the Government be amplifying cases of Covid? It just makes them look bad. Paranoid thought never cares about the why - it's just "Control...Big Brother..." etc, and even that's no answer.

Unknown said...

Where are the confidence bars around the "5%" accuracy figure, and what was the methodology used?

IE how close to the number of deaths does the reported figure need to be to count as accurate?

Anonymous said...

Been putting up with this shit for a while - 'There's no excess deaths!' says Covid denialist friend. 'Hmm, where did you hear that?', 'Was in the Daily Mail!'

Am betting they've been using dodgy statistics for months. Can any stats people have a look at some of their previous graphs?

The tragic thing is pressure from the Tory press is pushing policy now, hence the cunning Boris plan of opening everything up for a month and hoping for the best.

Anonymous said...

Re: Stephen - a lot of these characters are pushing conspiracy theories which originated in the far-right of politics. 'Cultural Marxism' basically comes from Hitler, the 'Everyone who disagrees with me politically is a Communist' is basically the John Birch society. Then you had the rise of the New World Order conspiracies promoted heavily by evangelicals during the Cold War.

We're essentially seeing a mix of all that being thrown out to confuse and make people paranoid. Yet as you mentioned it makes no sense - a plot where super-capitalists destroy capitalism because they're secretly Marxists? Governments who want to control people by asking them politely not to go out much during a health emergency? Secret chips in vaccines to monitor us all despite everyone carrying round a portable supercomputer phone tracking device for the past decade?

Just pure idiocy. But I've yet to see anyone ask the British media why they promote this stuff. Surely at least one Oxbridge type has some inkling of the history of far-right conspiracy theories and how dangerous they can be?

Anonymous said...

That statistics guy's phasing comes across as "not quite English".
Like somebody who studied the language intensively, but doesn't use it regularly.

Troll farm.