Coronavirus Truthers are now a thing, and I regret to inform you that a publication I used to work for has taken the lead in spinning crazy Infowars-style conspiracy theories about how the virus is all being hyped up by the Deep State.
Ben Domenech, publisher of The Federalist, recently took to Twitter to explain epidemiology to the epidemiologists, proclaiming that “The 3.3 million unemployment claims today are a direct result of everyone from Morning Joe to Tucker Carlson repeating the baseless predictions of the Imperial College as fact.” He is referring to recent testimony from Neil Ferguson, lead author of an influential academic report on the virus, which had warned of 500,000 deaths in Britain and millions in the United States unless we took strong measures to stop the spread of the virus. More recently, Ferguson testified that he now thinks fewer than 20,000 Britons might die. As Domenech sneers, “2 million people will die vs 20k people will die is a BIG DIFFERENCE NEIL. I mean, how do you even explain that? I accidentally held down the zero button?”
Take that, experts! You have been refuted with Twitter snark.
Except it is Domenech who is getting this completely wrong, and not just wrong, but wrong in a way so crudely simple—and so insistently repeated in his publication—that it cannot possibly be an honest mistake.
The Federalist has always flirted with the ragged edge of trollish contrarianism. I should know, I was there for most of its first five years of publication. But in the past few years, it has transformed from a fresh and vibrant platform representing a diverse spectrum of ideas on the right to a conspiracy-mongering partisan rag that has now become a menace to public health.
Read the rest at The Bulwark.