The mainstream media have been very sad and confused recently.
“What am I supposed to report on now that the world is moving on from COVID?”
All the hits, online audience, revenue, slowly returning back to pre-COVID levels…
Yay! A brand-new variant to milk dry with countless clickbait titles and fear-inducing claims!
Personally, there are only two features of a new variant that are worth even beginning to mention to the public:
- Is it more deadly?
- Is it more resistant to current vaccines?
Based on the limited knowledge we have of this new variant, neither of these points can be accurately confirmed. There is currently zero indication that it is more deadly; in fact, quite the contrary. And, even if it is more resistant to current vaccines (which is yet to be officially determined), it’s not important!
Most Australians received their second vaccine dose between September-October. The EARLIEST most people can even think about receiving a booster shot is March – in 3 months!
This new variant is not more deadly, and we currently can’t do anything to protect ourselves further. That leaves us with a plethora of mainstream media companies fuelling fear and uncertainty, compounded by the lack of options to deal with this “new threat” to our post-lockdown society.
To media platforms across Australia and the world, there will be more variants. However, just because one pops up, it doesn’t require a new publishing campaign. I think of when you post articles on breaking news or criminal trials. At the end of one of these posts is often the phrase “more to come”. This phrase is used because you don’t have all the information, and it is still a developing situation. I’ve read over 50 articles on Omicron and haven’t once seen the phrase “more to come”.
Next time a variant appears, try this approach to writing your article:
“New variant (insert name) found in (insert country). More to come”
That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.
When you know if it is more deadly, let me know. When you know if my current vaccination state won’t protect me from preventing severe illness, let me know.
We’re all trying to move forward, and although carrying a 10-kilogram vest doesn’t stop us from moving, it certainly makes it more challenging.
You are weighing us all down and playing on divisions within society that have deepened throughout the pandemic.
This is the last time I’ll speak about a variant unless one of the two criteria are met.
I hope you do the same.
P.S. I acknowledge my hypocrisy in writing an article about the thing I’m asking people to stop doing. I also want to emphasise that I fully supported vaccination, especially for COVID-19, and don’t seek to discourage people from getting vaccinated. I only seek to discourage media platforms from continuing to pursue a fear campaign about new variants that don’t serve any purpose other than increasing their revenue.