Health: How Well (or Poorly) Have Media Covered the Pandemic?

The Story:

The Covid-19 has been a big part of American life for well over a year and a half. As one might have expected, it has received extensive coverage in all news media during that time. Media critics take it as their job to evaluate that coverage. What are they saying?

One Point of View:

There are many different points of view on this of course. From one point of view, there has simply been too much coverage. Yes, it has become an important fact in our lives, and it has tragically shortened many of them. But (this critique runs) many media have overstated the risk in order to overstate the drama, and have focused on single sometimes idiosyncratic experiences, even anecdotes, at the expense of perspective.

Another criticism: media in general have a tendency to portray “the science” as more settled than it usually is. this means that new hypotheses become dramatic reversals, when in fact they migth simply be … new hypotheses.

In Pill Form:

Maryn McKenna, an independent journalist and journalism professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, said recently: “We need to do a self-examination on when or if the dust from this ever settles is how much of the past year was viewed as a business opportunity and did that get in the way of informing the public adequately.”


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