From: L. Michael Hall
2021 Neurons #77
December 1, 2021
Facts #7
A Mental Health Alert


It was reported this week that there’s a new variant, the omicron. When it was reported by a doctor in South Africa, the doctor said that those who had catch it had “very mild symptoms” and they were all treated at home. No hospitalizations. That was the “fact.” Oh, yes, there was one more “fact”— there is, as of today, not a single case at this date in the United States.

But facts have to be interpreted. And that is exactly what the mainstream media did, the President did, and Wall Street did. However, how they interpreted it and the kind of reasoning they used in interpreting it created an even bigger problem. Yes they reasoned from the facts but they did not do a very good job in reasoning.
∙ The media covered this new fact and then started using all kinds of projective conjectures about it— Will this cause more shut-downs? Will this spread all around the world and kill more people? In watching the news on NBC, ABC, MSNBC and CNN last night— it was their lead story and they had Fauci back on making dire predictions about the future.
∙ The President then put travel bans on eight African Nations.
∙ New York Governor, Kathy Hochal, reestablished the mask mandate for New York and urged that hospitals suspend elective surgeries.
∙ Wall Street panicked on Friday and dropped some 960 points and then another 600 on Monday.

Now, what kind of thinking is all of these over-reactions? If we open up the list of cognitive distortions— we see over-generalization, awfulizing, negative prediction of the future, emotionalizing, blaming, etc. Talk about Panic Thinking! It strikes me as the Fear Pandemic— a hysteric panicking that has no basis in reality, especially since it is primarily catastrophic predictions about a potential holocaust.

It also strikes me as more media miscarriage of information. The media is supposed to deal with facts and science, not wild conjectures. Yet because fear, disaster, problems, threats, etc. “sell newspapers,” the media seems unable to help itself from fear-mongering. True journalists are supposed to be the guardians of facts, to objectively present the truth and let it stand. Now things may change, but as of right now, the medical doctors in South Africa have only said that the variant has “very mild symptoms.” You would think that should be good news.

If “the truth shall set us free” and if the best policy is to follow the facts, and the science, then one of the biggest problems we have today is the media. So, be skeptical what you hear via both the mainstream media and the social media. Ask questions about the facts and about the kind of thinking and reasoning people are applying to the facts.