Sunday, June 23, 2024
HomeCOVID-19Responsible journalism, RIP

Responsible journalism, RIP


WHEN the American actress Jennifer Aniston declared that she would ‘unfriend’ anybody who had refused the Covid vaccine or was an anti-vaxxer, she gained thousands, if not millions, of new fans who agreed with her.

Since then, others have stepped in to say that the unvaccinated are no longer their friends.

For me, it is just the opposite. I fear I am fast losing friends among the vaccinated, among those who proudly proclaim that they have not only been double-jabbed, but will be queueing to have the booster, so-called, that will be ‘offered’ in the autumn.

Have these people, I wonder, read anything about the vaccines, studied how they work and what they do inside the body? I doubt it. Even journalists, who are supposed to have inquiring minds, have no hesitation in condemning those who have chosen not to be jabbed even while admitting that they are ignorant about vaccines.

The latest was Hilary Rose, writing in the Times on Monday. Having stated that she knew nothing about vaccines, she went on to say: ‘If the entire medical establishment says that something is for my own good and – crucially – those around me, then who am I to disagree?’ 

But Hilary, love, the entire medical establishment is not saying that these vaccines are for your own good. Far from it. All over the world, eminent doctors, scientists and virologists – those who DO know something about vaccines – are asking awkward questions about their efficacy and safety. 

Hilary blithely ignores all this and instead denounces the ‘rabid anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorists who foam at the mouth in Trafalgar Square’. Warming to her theme, she adds: ‘They’re beyond help and beyond contempt.’ How can she be so sure they are ‘beyond contempt’ if she herself knows nothing about vaccines? Maybe it would be a good idea to mug up on the subject before castigating those who have the courage to protest against the imposition of an experimental drug on ever-younger members of society.

So the question I am asking is: why are we listening to people such as Jennifer Aniston, Sean Penn, Hilary Rose, Daily Mail columnist Amanda Platell and the ultimate loudmouth, Piers Morgan – none of whom know anything about the science of vaccination – and ignoring the research of informed doctors and scientists who are emphatically not ‘rabid anti-vaxxers’ and nor are they foaming at the mouth?

Instead, these scientists are presenting careful research in a calm and considered manner.

As a journalist myself, I used to be proud of my trade. I was given the opportunity to research and investigate many controversial areas, and report on them after I had amassed enough information to be able to write with some authority. I remember one fine journalist, Peter Martin, telling his employers the Sunday Times that he needed three months to research and write an article on cancer that was commissioned by his editor. As an old-school journalist, he wanted to get to the bottom of the subject before feeling confident enough to write about it.

All that has gone by the board since Covid reared its hydra head.

I have yet to read an informed, properly researched article in the mainstream media about coronaviruses, how they work and how they are best treated. No, that is too much like hard work. Much better to castigate all dissidents as nutjobs and crackpots without for a minute listening to what they have to say.

It seems that the louder you shout, the more you will be believed. The still small voice of truth is being drowned out while these ignoramuses – and I use the word in its literal sense – are allowed massive coverage in all sections of the media. 

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Liz Hodgkinson
Liz Hodgkinson
Liz Hodgkinson is an author and journalist.

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