In my lifetime, I never have seen anything dominate news coverage like the COVID-19 virus and how federal, state, and local governments have dealt with the death, illness, and uncertainty it has created. That is a lifetime that has included the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War, the moon landing, Watergate, and the 9/11 attacks.

Suffice it to say that these were big events, yet I cannot say that I have seen anything quite like it, even in this modern media age. But although news coverage clearly has been extensive, I cannot say much for it except that with just a few exceptions, the coverage has been uniformly bad. When I mean bad, I mean that I as a reader, and especially as a reader who also is an academic economist and economic journalist, cannot trust it to be accurate.

For example, when Neil Ferguson of Imperial College in London more than two months ago reported his model that predicted up to 2.2 million coronavirus deaths in the United States, the New York Times accepted the predictions as near reported fact, both in its news and editorial coverage. Despite the fact that Ferguson has a long record of making wild exaggerations in his death-from-disease models, the media treated his dire predictions as Oracles from the Gods and demanded radical measures to counter this alleged threat.



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