Commentary

#MASA

Given that it's Earth Day, it's probably appropriate to discuss America's partisan split between those who believe in science and those who follow populist political rhetoric that campaigns against it. But as shocking as right-wing denial of climate science has been to me for decades, I can't for the life of me figure out why the right-wing is currently denying medical science -- not just for the life of me, but for all of them too.

But that clearly is the case, as the #MAGA movement becomes the #MASA movement, as in, "Make America Sick Again."

After weeks of state, community, private sector and individual self-imposed efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, the right-wing is begun politicizing it as a violation of their civil liberties, or even worse, a left-wing conspiracy to sabotage the economy, ostensibly to hurt the President's chances of being reelected.

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Aside from literally being suicide, it's another example of right-wing politics denying science it finds inconvenient -- you know, the truth.

There's a bounty of research to prove it, including this week's Ipsos COVID-19 tracking study, which shoes the spread between Republican and Democratic voters continues to widen over concerns about COVID-19, as well as trust in federal vs. state governments to deal with it. Or a just-released poll from CNBC and Change Research showing the same for the key battleground states: North Carolina, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Florida.

But unlike climate science which informs us about existential threats that may seem abstract and far away, the epidemiological science of COVID-19 deals with something tangible and immediate, so one way or another we will know which side of this "political" debate is right.

How that will play out by November is anyone's guess, but as the President is fond of saying, "We'll see what happens."

In the meantime, happy Earth Day!

8 comments about "#MASA".
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  1. Jay Goldstein from Independent, April 22, 2020 at 3:34 p.m.

    Well said Joe! Thanks for always being a voice of reason. 

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, April 22, 2020 at 8:55 p.m.

    It is not about logic and reason. They can't be wrong or they will be ostracized or worse. It's a cult. Until enough people feel enough personal pain, nothing changes. They haven't felt enough personal pain. It is not snarky; it is how it all works.

  3. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, April 23, 2020 at 10:02 a.m.

    I can't for the life of me figure out why this is a media story. I feel most days that I wandered by accident onto Politico instead of MediaPost.

  4. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, April 23, 2020 at 10:44 a.m.

    @Douglas Ferguson: That's fair. I could have drawn a more explicit connection with media. Sorry. Next time.

  5. Tom Gray from WCMH, April 23, 2020 at 11:15 a.m.

    Thanks for another great piece Joe...I'm all for staying home and stopping the spread with reasonable measures but can you please enlighten me as to the scientific benefits of not being allowed to go on your boat alone, go fishing or hunting alone, take a walk through a park, go to a drive by church service.  There is definitely an overreach by governors in certain states with zero scientific evidence behind some of these measures. Why are we not allowed to question that? We're still learning more about the virus daily but you seem to know everything already, congrats.  This virus is going to be around for awhile, are we supposed to let the economy completely collapse or find a way to open businesses up by taking reasonable precautions.  The number one concern for people remains their jobs and income, their health is secondary.  We'll have many more problems than the virus if this shutdown continues for much longer.  Must be nice living in your liberal bubble though, you're exactly what's wrong with this country...no working together, just us vs them and stupid articles like this

  6. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, April 23, 2020 at 11:37 a.m.

    @Tom Gray: I wish I knew, Tom. I also wish the experts knew. The problem is there is a lot we don't know about this virus.

    Your point about the economy is valid, but I have a feeling that if we let the pandemic get out of control and deaths began to soar, it could have a more devastating impact on the economy.

    I heard a good line by one expert who said we shouldn't be basing things on who is an "essential worker," but on who is a "safe worker."

    Re. bubbles, you're the one making it political. The point of my column is existential threats should be about science, not politics.

  7. Allen Freeman from Cleveland Creative Inc., April 23, 2020 at 8:23 p.m.

    Here's a story I wrote, published in Crain's Cleveland Business, covering why many business owners are "denying medical science" using data from Northeast Ohio:

    https://www.crainscleveland.com/opinion/personal-view-math-doesnt-add-stay-home-orders

  8. PJ Lehrer from NYU, April 25, 2020 at 9:12 a.m.

    People believe the first thing that they hear about an issue and then block out information that challeges those feelings. 

    This is indeed a media issue.  As long as Trump and Fox keep spreading fake news, people will believe it, even if it kills them...

    http://pjlehrer.blogspot.com/2020/04/who-are-you-staying-home-for.html

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