Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Daily Mail slams swine flu scare machine!

Coming next: Simon Cowell chastising the X-Factor and Hugh Grant moaning about 'chick flicks'.

Six months ago Britain's tabloids were tolling the bell of a looming Armageddon. KILLER FLU IS HERE, NOW SWINE FLU PANIC SWEEPS BRITAIN, SWINE FLU WILL KILL 350 PEOPLE EVERYDAY and CHILDREN ARE SPREADING BUG were some of the somber headlines from the Daily Express.

As for the Daily Mail, headlines ranged from IS SWINE FLU ALREADY HERE? and SWINE FLU: IT'S GETTING SERIOUS to SWINE FLU NOW THE BATTLE TO CONTAIN IT and that's without counting the paper's first page warnings that "65,000 could die [and] one in three could get infected", printed in the 7 July 2009 edition.

Or even, still in the Daily Mail, the priceless Obama's swine flu scare after shaking hands with archaeologist who died a week later headline.

So you will excuse us if we laughed out loud this morning when the same paper published what is already on course as the most ridiculous article of 2010, a faux-outraged piece by Christopher Booker that goes: After this awful fiasco over swine flu, we should never believe the State scare machine again!

Now. We already know that the Daily Mail and its readers don't excel at irony. We also know that their memory doesn't stretch past the last time they filled up their 4x4 with petrol. But to have the paper that most contributed to stoke the flames of swine flu hysteria blame "the State" for fear and panic is just...how can I put it..."you couldn't make it up"!

Just remember that, in the week that followed the Daily Mail's epic "SORE THROAT" headline (which falsely linked the death of a six-year-old girl to the H1N1 virus), the number of people contacting their GP over swine-flu related fears jumped 50%.

Booker's piece follows yesterday's report by Fiona McRae: The 'false' pandemic: Drug firms cashed in on scare over swine flu, a reference to the recent claims by Wolfgang Wodarg, health chief at the Council of Europe, who recently branded the H1N1 panic as "one of the greatest scandals of the century".

Wodarg pointed out that too many things don't add up. From the World Health Organisation changing the definition of 'pandemic' in order to include the H1N1, to the fact itself that the so-called "swine flu" affected infinitely less people than any other pandemic in the past or even seasonal flu, with fatality rates "considerably less lethal than feared".

Just to give you an idea, the infamous pandemic of 1918 affected 500 million people, that is 33 per cent of the world's population, whereas the so-called "swine flu" or ("killer flu" to quote the Express) affected an estimated 600,000 people worldwide with a death rate of 0.03%.

In short, the Daily Mail has radically changed its tune. From equating a sore throat with the grim reaper all the way to Mr Wodarg's views - now that's quite a Road to Damascus.

So when Christopher Booker concludes his article by saying that "misreadings of the scientific evidence [...] can eventually make all of us look very silly indeed", he should speak for himself and his mates at the Daily Mail. And then, perhaps, look up the word "ridicule" in the dictionary.


Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

That is so rich I think I may have to sick it up. Have they no grasp on the part they played? On reality? ARGGHHHHHH!

PS: they are also running today with a heartbreaking story I read a few days ago and have blogged on and are using it to push an anti-social services agenda.

Nasty bastards.

Anonymous said...

Ha,ha,ha,ha! :D.........

Oh the irony indeed!

But i guess this isn't at all surprising, the media love to point the finger at others but not to themselves.

Anorak said...

Can i post this on Anorak?

claude said...

Yes, Anorak, go ahead. As long as it's credited, you're more than welcome.

Stan Moss said...

You've gotta love that paper. Proper comedy value.