This is not a new phenomenon, but it’s definitely growing more irritating as we endure coronavirus coverage.
Sometimes it appears more than half of the headlines or television news stories are what “could” happen.
- Coronavirus could cause brain damage.
- Millions could die from coronavirus.
- We could run out of masks.
- Hospitals could be overrun.
- The virus could be deadly to young people.
- The economy could remain shut down until there’s a vaccine.
- Coronavirus could make men between the ages of 26 and 32 bowlegged.
None of this is news because none of it is fact.
Predictions aren’t fact. Predictions are speculation. And speculation is not news.
I’m not sure what’s more troubling: how much of our news is speculation or how much of our citizens take the speculation as news.
We know the latter because we’re making massive, course-altering decisions for this country based on speculation. There’s just not enough evidence to suggest we should fundamentally ruin the lives of millions of our citizens for a virus that may not make the top five list of things that cause death in the United States.
I don’t think we can stop the news from reporting speculation as news, like useless political polling data, but we can prevent our populace for giving it any weight or credibility.