Journalistic malpractice in the Wall Street Journal

The March 18 Wall Street Journal (WSJ) had two very interesting articles in its Review section: "What Worked against Covid" by Dr. Tom Frieden and "For Long-Term Health and Happiness, Marriage Still Matters" by Dr. Brendan Case and Dr. Ying Chen. 

The journalistic standards couldn't be more disparate.  Dr. Frieden's piece approaches the definition of 1984 misinformation, while the Case/Chen piece actually appears to be information a reader could use. 

The Dr. Case/Dr. Chen article cites the journal Global Epidemiology, whom they studied (11,830 nurses), the time frame studied (1989–1993), how they controlled for variables such as health, and results ("35% lower risk of death for any reason over the follow up period than those who did not marry in that period").

Then there is the 1984 thought piece by Dr. Frieden, who is an Oberlin (B.A.) Columbia (MPH, M.D.)–educated director of the CDC under President Barack Obama.  For such a credentialed individual, he makes statements in his article that are an actual embarrassment. 

For example, Frieden states, "Vaccines saved at least 500,000 lives in the U.S. and possibly twice as many[.]"  Does he cite a study that supports this assertion?  Of course not!  Since Frieden offers no supporting data for this claim, he could just as easily state that 10,000,000 excess deaths were avoided thanks to the vaccine.  Are we supposed to blindly believe assertions without supporting information (for example, peer-reviewed studies) to justify his claim? 

In another example, Frieden states, "High levels of community masking, including both source patients and exposed people, have been associated with reductions in infections ranging from 10% to 80%[.]"  If you were told there is between a 10% and an 80% chance of something occurring, would you give it any credence?  In theory, the WSJ is a paragon of journalistic integrity.  If this is the best it has to offer, we are in incredible trouble. 

Finally, "Studies from New York City, the U.S. as a whole and 11 European countries all come to a similar conclusion: Indoor closures prevented at least 50% of infections and deaths in 2020[.]"  Dr. Frieden, care to cite any studies?  What is your proof?

Dr. Frieden states, "Approximately 95% of people dying of Covid in the U.S. are not up to date on their vaccines[.]"  Against this unsubstantiated claim, consider the total (all deaths) U.S. death count (from the CDC) in 2019 — 2,854,838, 2020 — 3,390,079, 2021 — 3,471,732, 2022 — 3,281,912.

Currently, 230,211,943 people in the USA are considered fully vaccinated against COVID.  U.S. COVID infections were approximately 103.8 million in through March 17, 2023 with 1.122 million COVID deaths over the same time frame.  In 2022, there were approximately 267,000 COVID deaths.  Is Dr. Frieden stating that in the absence of being vaccinated, the COVID deaths in 2022 would be 19 times higher (over 5.07 million COVID deaths if the vaccine didn't exist)?  In 2020, when no vaccine existed, there were 19,851,778 COVID cases in the USA against 326,570 deaths for a mortality rate (no vaccine) of 1.7%.  Did COVID become more lethal in 2022 than in 2020?  Based on the death numbers from 2020 to 2022, a reasonable person would say no, COVID did not become more lethal.

Independent of Dr. Frieden's unsubstantiated thought piece, do the establishment media really want us to believe that COVID came from a raccoon dog over 42 months after COVID came to existence when we have been fed so much misinformation? 

Dr. Frieden, journalists, and their editors do their public an incredible disservice when 1984-type disinformation is disseminated.  The WSJ should issue an apology to its readers for publishing a thought piece not becoming its newspaper.  The alternative is a public that will no longer believe anything they are told by our media and facilitating societal decline via an ignorant public. 

Image: Wall Street Journal.

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