On January 7, Ekstra Bladet published an editorial in which they apologized for not having done a better job questioning the government on all things covid:
Editorial, EkstraBladet, Jan 7
I only became aware of the editorial today when I stumbled over it on a conservative American website (AceOfSpades).
There are two reasons I missed this important editorial at the time of its publication: first, I don’t regularly browse EkstraBladet. Not out of any general objection to tabloids, but out of a belief (usually justified) that its editorial focus on gossip, celebrities, and sport doesn’t often feature the kind of news I’m interested in.
Secondly, and more importantly, it wasn’t covered by any of the Danish media that I do browse regularly. Or if it was, it had to have been buried pretty deeply for me to have missed it.
I tend to surf the wesbites of DR, Berlingske, and TV2 News several times a day, Politiken and Jyllands-Posten once a day, BT and Information now and then. I don’t watch a lot of television or listen to a lot of radio, but it’s rare that a day goes by without my catching the top stories at least once on both media.
And yet it took eight days for me to discover that a Danish newspaper had apologized for having failed the public over the past two years—a period during which I have been excoriating the Danish press for its failures on an almost daily basis.
The editorial was clearly penned in reaction to the recent revelations that Statens Serum Institut and the Danish government had been reporting wildly inflated covid hospitalization numbers dating all the way back to the onset of the pandemic (revelations I covered extensively—for example, here, here, and here—without even ever having bothered to say I TOLD YOU SO).
Here’s the editorial in its entirety, translated into English:
FOR ALMOST two years, we—the press and the population—have been almost hypnotically preoccupied with the authorities’ daily corona numbers.
WE HAVE STARED at the oscillations of the number pendulum when it came to infections, hospitalizations, and deaths with corona. And we had the meaning of the pendulum’s smallest movements interpreted by experts, politicians, and authorities, who have constantly warned us about the dormant corona monster under our beds. A monster just waiting for us to fall asleep so it can strike in the gloom and darkness of the night.
THE CONSTANT mental alertness has taken a toll on all of us. That is why we—the press—must also take stock of our own efforts. And we have failed.
WE HAVE NOT been vigilant enough gatekeepers when the authorities were required to answer what it actually meant that people are hospitalized with corona and not because of corona. Because it makes a difference. A big difference. Specifically, the official hospitalization numbers have been shown to be 27 percent higher than the actual figure for how many there are in the hospital, simply because they have corona. We only know that now.
OF COURSE , it is first and foremost the authorities who are responsible for informing the population correctly, accurately and honestly. The figures for how many are sick and died of corona should, for obvious reasons, have been published long ago, so we got the clearest picture of the monster under the bed.
OVERALL, the messages of the authorities and politicians to the people in this historic crisis leave much to be desired. And they’re therefore only lying in the bed they made for themselves when parts of the population lose confidence in them.
ANOTHER example: The vaccines are consistently referred to as our “superweapon.” And our hospitals are called “superhospitals.” Nevertheless, these super-hospitals are apparently pressured to the max even though almost the entire population has been armed with super-weapons. Even children have been vaccinated on a huge scale, which has not been done in our neighboring countries.
IN OTHER WORDS, there is something here that does not deserve the term “super.” Whether it’s the vaccines, the hospitals, or a mixture of it all, is an open question. But either way, the authorities’ communication to the population in no way deserves the term “super.” On the contrary.
It’s not quite the mea culpa one might have hoped for (“we failed, but only because we didn’t question the dishonest bullshit being fed to us by the government”), but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
There’s also a little bit of stolen valor at work here: it was after all Berlingske that broke the story of just how distorted the SSI numbers were. (And insofar as they’re the outfit that brought the government’s dishonesty to public attention, they have less to apologize for.)
Yes, the Danish media dropped the ball by passing along government statistics with unquestioning credulity, and that’s shameful in itself, but what makes it not just shameful but dangerous and destructive in this particular case is how the press treated anyone else who questioned the official numbers: either by ignoring them or ridiculing them.
Let’s go back to that Feynman formulation I quoted a couple of weeks ago:
Learn from science that you must doubt the experts.
Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.
Each generation that discovers something from its experience must pass that on, but it must pass that on with a delicate balance of respect and disrespect, so that the race. . .. does not inflict its errors too rigidly on its youth, but that it does pass on the accumulated wisdom plus the wisdom that it may not be wisdom.
In other words, in not merely failing to question the “official science” put out by the government, but in activly collaborating with the government in concealing, suppressing, or ridiculing anyone with the temerity to doubt or question the “experts,” the press wasn’t merely guilty of neglect: it was an active agent in misleading us.
“Sorry, our bad” doesn’t begin to atone for the damage done.
In Denmark as in America, the fourth estate served not as a check on government, but as an accomplice in perpetuating its lies and suppressing dissent.
That may sound harsh. It’s certainly not a sentence I could have imagined myself typing just a decade or two ago, but here we are. It’s established fact. EkstraBladet has only said what anyone with a handful of functioning neurons already knew: our governments and institutions have been misinforming us and the press has been covering for them.
I said “in Denmark as in America” because the establishment media in America have lately begun to reexamine their own covid reporting—to their discredit, however, this appears to be less a function of their acknowledging any failure on their own part than a concerted effort to try and rescue Democrats (and themselves) from the abyss into which Joe Biden’s disastrous presidency has been pulling them. Call it the “Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia” approach.
Every time Joe Biden has called this a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” he’s been lying. The press should have called him out every single time that lie dribbled out over his decrepit lips. They did not. Even when he suggested that vaccinated people couldn’t pass the infection on to others—something for which there has never been any actual evidence—the press let it slide. (Even Politifact had to acknowledge the statement was “Mostly False”—the “mostly” on account of the fact that the vaccinated appear to be less infectious than the unvaccinated, which is an important distinction but has absolutely nothing to do whether or not it’s accurate to suggest that the vaccinated aren’t infectious at all, which is what Biden has been saying, suggesting, and implying in his unhinged attacks on the unvaccinated.)
His Holiness Anthony Fauci has changed positions on one issue after another from the very start of the pandemic and the establishment press in America has focused not on holding him to account on these changes but defending them so rabidly that his assertion that “attacks on me are, quite frankly, attacks on science” didn’t elicit any serious criticism from the establishment media—which, in a sane world, would have been calling for his immediate resignation.
One consequence of the media’s complicity in the government’s dishonesty is that it’s had a chilling effect on even private discussions about the pandemic. It cast anyone who questioned the government and its science as ignorant partisans whose uninformed opinions were not just wrong but dangerous to the public interest. To question the numbers from SSI, or from Fauci—to question whether the policies of Joe Biden or Mette Frederiksen were appropriate—was to be anti-science. Andi-reason.
When in fact, it’s blind obedience and unquestioning submission that are anti-science and anti-reason.
The pandemic ought to have represented a great flourishing of debate as our best scientiests and researchers were encouraged to challenge and test one another as we felt our way toward the best possible way through it.
That’s not what we did.
And no matter how much (or even whether) they apologize, the media are going to find it very difficult to regain their credibility with the people they demonized, insulted, and bullied for two years.
Now hold onto your hats for a moment as I shift gears and take a sharp turn to talk about Elvis Costello.
You may remember him as the artist behind such hits as “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding,” “Watching the Detectives,” “Allison,” “Pump It Up,” “Radio, Radio,” “Oliver’s Army,” and others. Or you may remember him as an artist who showed up a lot on your parents’ favorite classic rock station.
Now check this out:
Elvis Costello asks radio stations not to play Oliver’s Army
Mark Savage, BBC, Jan 11
Elvis Costello has revealed he will no longer perform his biggest hit, Oliver’s Army, and has also asked radio stations to stop playing the song.
Written about the conflict in Northern Ireland, the lyrics contain a racial slur used to describe Irish Catholics.
“That’s what my grandfather was called in the British army – it’s historically a fact,” he told The Telegraph.
“But people hear that word… and accuse me of something that I didn’t intend.”
Here are the lyrics:
There was a Checkpoint Charlie
He didn't crack a smile
But it's no laughing party
When you've been on the murder mile
Only takes one itchy trigger
One more widow, one less white nigger
That’s the only appearance of the offending slur in the entire song.
Here for compariosn are the lyrics from one of the most popular rap songs of 2021, “Industry Baby,” by Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow.
Uh, need to, uh
Need to get this album done
Need a couple number ones
Need a plaque on every song
Need me like one with Nicki now
Tell a rap nigga, "I don't see ya", ha
I'm a pop nigga like Bieber, ha
I don't fuck bitches, I'm queer, ha
But these niggas bitches like Madea
Yeah, yeah, yeah (yeah)
Ayy, oh, let's do it
I ain't fall off, I just ain't release my new shit
I blew up now everybody tryna sue me
You call me Nas, but the hood call me Doobie, yeah
So what’s the problem with Costello’s lyric?
When the most popular rap songs of 2021 are overflowing with the very word he used once in a song he wrote in the 1970s, why should anyone care?
Does anyone care?
Elvis Costello is voluntarily censoring himself not because he believes there’s anything wrong with his song, but because he’s been led to believe (quite rightly) that others do, or will, or might—and he lacks the will or energy to take that fight.
Exactly as so many scientists and researchers have surely decided to keep their mouths shut over the past two years for fear of being targeted by the hysterical anti-scientific mobs of our governments and media.
The problem with submission to orthodoxy—one of the problems—is that it only reinforces the orthodoxy and makes it that much less likely the next guy will stand up to it.
That’s the road we’re on right now. It’s not where we’re headed, it’s where we are.
And to quote the refrain of Oliver’s Army one last time before it disappears down the memory hole for good, “I would rather be anywhere else but here today…“