There is a malignant attitude against science, news and information right at a time when those things are needed most. As publisher, I am subject to complaint every time I report news of COVID-19, accused of sensationalism and stirring panic to sell more papers.
I don't sell papers, nor do I sell access to the news I publish ... it is free and available to interested readers 24/7 around the globe. No subscriptions, no fees, not even any intrusive pop-up advertisements, ads being the sole revenue source supporting this publication.
Of course I want more readers, that's how a news source typically measures success. And not only because having more readers equates to more or higher paying advertisers.
I look at the numbers of readers more as an indication of trust, which is, at base, the product I specialize in. Without trust, I have nothing, which is why I go to great lengths to ensure that what I present is true and represents the best information available.
That is why when I make a factual error, I do my best to make sure everybody sees the correction.
In situations such as, say, the imminent eruption of the Yellowstone supercaldera or the COVID-19 pandemic, there is much speculation, which is why I strive to report information vetted by the scientists trusted by our government and elected officials.
I have no reason to want to stir panic, nothing at all to gain by doing so. I have everything to gain by presenting news my readers can rely on.
"We're doing so well after the plague," President Donald Trump told thousands at a rally in Arizona last week. "It's going away."
No, Mr. President, it is not.
The news I've shared from the nation's scientific community is proving to be far nearer to the truth of how the pandemic is progressing than the messages coming from the White House.
In the last week, after a hurried economic reopening, 30 states saw their COVID-19 statistics climb.
Many, including Idaho, last week set single day new case records.
Many, including Idaho, backed up in their plans to reopen the economy, realizing that the scientific and medical community was right that moving ahead too rapidly to save the economy and easing the painful restrictions necessary to curtail a virus too soon are proving detrimental, if not catastrophic.
And still there are legions spouting a plethora of mantras to dismiss the scientific community's best advice and ignore the mounting statistical evidence that nearly every day confirms the efficacy of their recommendations over the wishful thinking coming from the administration.
Telling the truth is not an attempt to instill panic, but meant to give sound information on which readers can base decisions. It's not advice. What you do with it is up to you.
That so many continue to bask in the smoke being blown up their backside is their prerogative, but that so many offer up so much outlandish and thoroughly debunked alternatives and do their best to shoot the messenger, calling the reports "fake news" and "fear mongering," is dangerous.
It makes no sense that a species that so prides itself on its intelligence so willingly refutes and denies the information that is proving correct to embrace wishful fallacy, choosing long-term harm over short-term self-sacrifice, the one skill that supposedly sets humans apart from the animals.
It's happened before when people refused to believe the best science of the day, and the era is now known to history as "the Dark Ages," the coming out of it "the Enlightenment."
Is than an epoch we need to repeat?