Keep your misinformation to yourself
I try to keep my public feeds conspiracy-free; at least that's the goal
I attempt to exclude political issues and debates from this newsletter. Today, I’m making an exception. You may find today’s entry an unnecessary diversion. I have no problem if you do. I’ll return to regular programming midweek.
My Facebook feed is shared publicly. I use it mainly to converse with friends, share fun stuff or life events, weird things in the news, and the occasional bit of commentary. At least that’s my impression of it. A detailed content analysis might find otherwise. Maybe it’s dominated by punditry. But I’m trying to limit that.
Much of my opining is connected to COVID, vaccinations, and public responses to them. I do my best to stick to verifiable information, and not share conspiracies or misinformation (unless I’m clearly ridiculing it).
I also try to keep it light, as with this post yesterday:
An acquaintance I met a few times long ago but who stays in touch via Facebook posted a couple of responses, calling COVID and the vaccines a “hoax,” saying hydroxychloroquine was superior in combatting the virus than any vaccine, and insinuating the entire pandemic was some sort of “Deep State” plot. I’ll guarantee this response came from this person’s political outlook rather than any examination of evidence or information.
No matter. I removed the posts, and removed the poster from my contact list. I refuse to let someone use my platform to circulate dangerous nonsense.
But not through me
I’m much less twitchy on social media than I was in the early days. In the early 2010s, adrenaline rush of “destroying” someone was too tempting. Eventually I realized I wasn’t destroying anyone. I shouldn’t want to destroy anyone. And whatever petulance I was exercising reflected poorly on me rather than my intended target. (Twitter is the worst, said everyone all the time.)
So I calmed down. I think. I hope.
Given the current political environment, choosing to leave a job focused on writing about policy advocacy and politics also has proved to be healthier, and enabled me to become more empathetic. I think. I hope.
But even in the hot-take days of yore, I tried to keep bat-poo crazy stuff off my social media accounts. My feeds are public, and while I’ve issued the usual disclaimers, I’ve also attempted to abide by the wisdom of Solzhenitsyn:
“You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.”
COVID and its effects are real. It has killed millions, including more than 600,000 in the U.S.
Policy makers have made mistakes. Overreactions and underreactions, sometimes by the same people. But they’re dealing with something that isn’t a phantom or a plot. I refuse to tolerate anyone who tries to use a platform I control to say otherwise.
Speaking of policy makers and COVID
In his most recent Longleaf Politics newsletter, Andrew Dunn gives Gov. Roy Cooper an attaboy for refusing to overreact to the latest COVID surge. (Be sure to check it out for some excellent graphic depictions of the most recent data.)
I’ve criticized Cooper’s abuses of his emergency powers, but I’m with Dunn.
The governor is taking a measured approach. I’m sure he understands pushing institutions to boost vaccinations is wiser than using new emergency edicts which would be resisted by the unvaccinated anyway. Well done.
Take the ferry to Chapel Hill
I’ve sung the praises of Jeremy Markovich’s North Carolina Rabbit Hole newsletter. This week’s entry is another winner. The Netflix series “Outer Banks” has its, uh, factual issues. The main howler is the show’s use of a fictitious ferry from the coast to Chapel Hill — an impossible nautical task. The show runners know this, but they’re going along with the joke.
As are the folks in Raleigh.