James O'Brien's message for those accusing Covid scientists of "scaremongering"

28 October 2020, 11:33

By Fiona Jones

This was James O'Brien's attempt to work out the motive of media outlets that continue to claim the Government scientists are "exaggerating" about the effects of Covid, as the UK surpasses death forecast weeks early.

There have been over 60,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the UK, with a daily death toll of 200 being reached weeks earlier than feared by chief medical officer Sir Chris Whitty.

These two milestones have bolstered calls for a national “circuit breaker” in mid-December to halt an exponential rise in cases.

Learning this news, James took the time for reflect on those accusing the Government scientists of "scaremongering" and "exaggerating" the gravity of the situation.

There is a "huge problem" in the UK with media outlets and columnists taking the scientific evidence and manipulating it to "illicit the biggest emotional reaction," usually to frighten or enrage, he said.

This practice sets up the consumers with a common enemy, whether that be Greta Thunberg, Black Lives Matter protests or single mothers, as a form of populism.

"Populism is about persuading people to support you because they will hurt your enemies, if you haven't actually got an enemy, the job of a populist is to pretend that you do," James said, "you see decent people being terrorised."

James said that when you bring populism to coronavirus, "it gets much worse" because the enemy is real and lethal - yet the populists still aim to shun the scientific data.

Of those populists, James said, "I don't think they can help themselves, I think it is like a toolbox and you can only work with the tools that are in it. But after four or five years of really weapons-grade populist ignorance, the media seems to be full of people who treat coronavirus in exactly the same way."

As the UK surges past the 200 daily mark weeks before forecasted, James wondered whether the problem is the media who "keep insisting" the SAGE experts are exaggerating.