Where do you get your news? Are you one of the rare U.S. citizens who still has a newspaper delivered to your door? Do you tune into one or more major television networks every morning and evening? Perhaps, you have an app that makes current event headline news easily accessible, and you scroll through the options daily. If you use social media, you can’t escape discussions about news. You likely have witnessed threads of debate (especially in a political context) about how to tell fake news from real news. Nowadays, determining one from the other can be challenging. A question many people are asking this week is whether or not U.S. doctors have been asked to misrepresent information on death certificates of their patients.
Is it fake news? Is it real news? How can we find out? It’s a fact that it’s no longer possible to simply tune into a nightly news show, pick up a paper or read something online and assume that what we’re reading is true. Yellow journalism is alive and well in the good ol’ U.S. of A. So are corruption, greed and power-driven-cut-throat schemes that take advantage of the innocent and ignorant.
All U.S. doctors, reporters and politicians are not bad
We live in the greatest country on earth. It would be a grave injustice to wrongly accuse U.S. doctors, reporters and politicians of trying to deceive the American public as though they are a collective group of cohorts plotting together to profit from a masterminded scheme. There are great doctors, talented reporters and honest politicians. Sadly, there are also some people in each category who, for whatever reason, are liars or are acting under duress, or are misled, etc.
A lot of people are highly upset about this video. Why? Well, because in it, one of our U.S. doctors, who also happens to be a U.S. senator from Minnesota, says he was told by his state’s Department of Health to falsify death records. More precisely, Senator Dr. Scott Jensen says he was told to classify deaths not proved as COVID-19 deaths as though they were, in fact, COVID-19 deaths. I’m not sure we should immediately chalk it off as fake news. Here, we have a U.S. senator and a licensed physician putting himself out there by appearing in an interview that has been posted on YouTube and is making its way through social media. Why would he do that if what he is saying actually never happened? Wouldn’t he be compromising his own medical and/or political career if he were lying?
Lots of COVID-19 news concerns lately
Other U.S. doctors, reporters and politicians have been saying there’s a lot of fake news going around these days regarding statistics about the novel coronavirus. Yes, the virus is a serious problem. Also, yes, it is tragic that people are dying in this country and abroad. As we’ve discussed in this article, this article and others here on The Hot Mess Press, it appears that Senator Dr. Jensen is far from the only licensed medical professional or politician who is concerned that, perhaps, the numbers the American public is being given are not correct.
Fake news or real news?
Are you or someone you know working “on the front lines,” during this national crisis? It may be helpful to ask direct questions (or to share firsthand information if you have it) regarding numbers of deaths in the hospitals in a particular area. Or, at least, it might help others to know if there are lots of test-positive patients being admitted to such hospitals.
I read last night that more than 6,000 people have died in New York City because of COVID-19. This morning, I watched Senator Dr. Jensen’s interview stating that the Minnesota Department of Health told him to write unproved information on death certificates.
I read about major mask and glove shortages, and also read that the shortages are due to so many patients coming into hospitals that workers are quickly depleting their supplies. Then, I learned that the reason the U.S. is short on masks and gloves is because we used to get our supplies from Wuhan China, but several months ago, the president put a halt on such orders, (a logical decision under the circumstances at that time) so we (i.e. U.S.) lost our main supplier of masks and gloves. That’s an entirely different reason for the shortage than other reports claiming it was caused by massive numbers of patients being treated in U.S. hospitals. Which is it? (Maybe, it’s both?)
Let’s stay united
It’ll likely be quite some time before we all return to life as usual in the United States. Perhaps, even more concerning than whether a particular news bit is fake or real, is the divisiveness I see beginning to stir throughout the country. Mothers dissing other mothers for letting kids play outside. Parents yanking their children away from passersby in grocery store aisles who happen to be of Asian descent. U.S. citizens calling other U.S. citizens radical, irrational or stupid just because the latter happens to disagree with an opinion of the former.
Let’s not let this crisis divide us as a nation. We may never have 100% certainty what is fake news versus real news, but we all have to continue living in community. Americans are known for their resilience, and for banning together in times of trouble as one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all! As we move forward, let’s try to encourage, inspire, pray for and support each other, and carefully form our opinions, choices and decisions by staying as well-informed as we can, even if it’s tough to figure out fact from fiction.