CHILDREN OF FLINT: "The mass poisoning of every kid in Flint!"

TUESDAY, JANUARY 19, 2021

"It's something you don't grow out of:" We'll start with something that doesn't matter, except to the extent that it does.

It appears on page A1 of this morning's New York Times. Essentially, it serves as a headline atop a highly significant news report. This is what it says:

       2,048 deaths were reported on Jan. 4 alone.

In print editions, that slightly peculiar statement is cast in the role of a virtual headline atop a highly visible front-page news report. 

The report, by Amy Harmon and three others, concerns an extremely significant topic—the rapidly increasing number of deaths in the United States from Covid-19.  

It's possible that the number of deaths will continue to grow until vaccination reins it in. The strange thing about the number in that virtual headline is the fact that the number's so small.

According to that semi-headline, 2,048 Covid deaths were reported "on Jan. 4 alone." Based on that construction, a reader might think that 2,048 was a strikingly large number of deaths for one single day.

In fact, the 7-day average on January 4 was-—according to the New York Times' daily data—2,656 reported deaths per day. In fact, the number of reported deaths on January 4 was substantially lower than the daily average which prevailed at that time.

The 7-day average has continued to climb, almost to this very day. Consider:

After yesterday's reporting was done, the 7-day average stood at a truly horrible 3,225 reported deaths per day. On the tiniest of bright sides, that average was actually lower than the average had been the day before.

In fact, within the Times data, the 7-day average reached its highest point on January 12, when it stood at 3,352 reported deaths per day. Since then, the average has been nosing down. This may represent a change for the better, or it may be a type of statistical glitch.

Reporting on the number of daily deaths has been all over the ballpark. We've noted the way major stars like Jake Tapper and Rachel Maddow seem to cherry-pick the numbers they report, always finding ways to present the largest possible number of deaths.

This morning, on page A1, the Times went in the other direction. At a glance, the paper seemed to suggest that 2,048 reported deaths would be a terrible number for a single day. 

In fact, our failing nation has a long way to go to get back down to any such number of daily deaths! Just over two thousand deaths per day? One can only wish!

Why did the Times choose to go with that particular number and with that particular date? Presumably, because the human interest stories they wanted to tell track to that particular date. With apologies to the family in question, today's report starts like this:

HARMON ET AL (1/19/21): It was 3 a.m. when Latraile Williams was startled from her sleep in her family’s Gainesville, Fla., home with a phone call. The voice on the other end, the doctor, sounded urgent, his words coming in slow bursts. Her husband of 23 years had very little time left. “Dear God,” she began to pray. “Dear God, give me strength.”

Ten minutes later, she received a second call. It was too late.

Her husband, Stacey Williams, a beloved youth football coach and father of five, had died from complications of Covid-19. All that was left was for her to replay the cellphone video that he had made from his hospital bed.

The late Stacey Williams, a good, decent person, lost his life on January 4. "On [that] one single day...Mr. Williams was among more than 2,000 Americans with the virus to die," the Times reports, making a statistical claim which is almost surely though not necessarily correct.

Across the country, how many people died on Covid-19 on January 4? We know of no way to answer that question. As with most other data sets, the New York Times data set reports that 2,048 Covid deaths were reported on that day, not that 2,048 Covid deaths actually occurred.

Such distinctions are routinely lost in the haze as the nation's major news orgs stress human interest Covid stories while underplaying the explanation of basic facts. 

This morning, the Times report doesn't explain the distinction between "reported" and "occurred." Beyond that, it leads with a daily number which actually seems to understate the number of Covid deaths now occurring on a daily basis—to the extent that we can know what that number actually is.

Nothing turns on the number the New York Times chose to feature. For the record, here are a few 7-day averages as the death rate has grown like Topsy over the past few months:

Reported Covid deaths per day, 7-day averages
November 1: 825
December 1: 1,541
January 1: 2,513
January 16: 3,319

We're using the New York Times data. Click here, scroll down to "New reported deaths per day."

The growth in those numbers has been obscene since November 1. In the past few days, the number has begun to nose down, although we don't know why. 

As a general matter, news orgs prefer to go with human interest first. Explanations and basic statistics will possibly tend to lag.

In the past several months, the rise in reported deaths per day has been obscene. We were struck by the (possibly somewhat) misleading number on page A1 today.

In a somewhat similar way, we were struck by several things Rachel Maddow said last Thursday night. Also, by quite a few things which didn't get said that night.

Maddow was talking about the past, and possibly current, water crisis in Flint. Since she was imagining some of the others going to jail, she was at her happiest.

Maddow tends to cherry-pick and embellish the nation's Covid death counts. Last Thursday night, in the first twenty minutes of a 26-minute opening monologue, she chose to make exciting remarks about the children of Flint.

She started by referring to "Flint, Michigan's lead poisoning disaster—that man-made disaster when Rick Snyder's state government poisoned an entire city with lead." 

"An entire city" had been poisoned, Maddow excitingly said. As for Snyder, he was "the man who ran the government that flipped the switch that pushed the button to poison Flint."

(We can't give you a link. Perhaps for obvious reasons, MSNBC no longer prepares public transcripts.)

Earlier that day, Snyder had been charged with two misdemeanors for his alleged role in the water crisis. In twenty minutes, the word "misdemeanor" never crossed Maddow's lips. Nor did she ever mention the penalty Snyder could face.

Along the way, she did make the statements shown below. Statements like these affect the future of the children of Flint:

MADDOW (1/14/21): That disastrous water switch, and the refusal to listen to the people of Flint about its consequences, led to the mass poisoning of every kid in the city of Flint—the mass poisoning of the people of that city. Thousands of kids who will live for the rest of their lives with the consequences of having been poisoned by lead early in their life—having lead exposure in their drinking water when they're kids.

It's something you don't grow out of. It's something for which there is no magic antidote.

The mass poisoning was now specific to "every kid in the city of Flint," the grand inquisitor said. Flint's kids will never grow out of what happened, they and their parents were told.

We aren't fans of Maddow's work at this particular site. We regard her as a victim of celebrity and corporate wealth—as an example of what can easily happen when the rewards are too damn high at profit-based, corporate "news orgs."

As a general matter, the children of Flint won't have to deal with the problems of wealth and fame. But what about Maddow's excited claims on this particular night?

How accurate were her claims about the mass "poisoning" of the children of Flint? How accurate were her gloomy suggestions about their ruined futures?

Beyond that, how many elementary facts had the cable star failed to state? How many statistics were swept down the drain as she went with her thrilling oration?

Who has been harming the children of Flint? On the assumption that such children matter, we'll discuss that key question all week.

Tomorrow:  The disappeared


15 comments:

  1. "Nothing turns on the number the New York Times chose to feature."

    As Somerby himself notes, that number was the number of deaths reported on January 4, the day Stacey Williams died.

    That is not "nothing." The deaths of individual people are important, each and every one of them. They are not statistics and they are not a game for Somerby to play with his readers. They are consequential events with great meaning to the people who loved the deceased.

    Somerby doesn't treat these deaths with the respect they deserve. Somerby is a huge asshole. To him, these deaths are just a stick to flog journalists, nothing more. He is incapable of imagining what the dying and their families are going through during this pandemic.

    Shame on you, Somerby.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello to everyone out here, I am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me … My name is Susan Christian , I live in London, UK. we got married for more than 9 years and have gotten two kids. thing were going well with us and we are always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treat me and the kids. later that month he did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do, i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted Dr Emu for the return of my husband to me, they told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after 24 hours my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still love me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that Dr Emu casted on him that make him come back to me today, me and my family are now happy again today. thank you Dr Emu for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact Dr Emu , if you need his help you can contact him through his private mail: emutemple@gmail.com or you can contact him through his website https://emutemple.wordpress.com/ fb page Https://web.facebook.com/Emu-Temple-104891335203341 and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay.

      Delete
  2. "Perhaps for obvious reasons, MSNBC no longer prepares public transcripts."

    The most obvious reason is cost. The second most obvious reason is that there is no need for transcripts if people can replay the episode and listen for themselves. Somerby says this as if the network were engaged in cover-up, but no one sees a problem with Maddow except kooks like Somerby (whose motives are far removed from the problems of Flint).

    ReplyDelete
  3. There is no amount of lead that is safe for children. The effects of lead are cumulative over time. The period of greatest vulnerability is early childhood.

    Why is Somerby defending wrongdoers and trying to minimize the impact of lead on any of Flint's children? Why does he think it matters greatly whether it was ALL of Flint's children or some proportion of them who were damaged? And why does he think any amount of damage is permissible due to contaminated drinking water in Flint?

    Increasingly, Somerby is on the wrong side of issues. And he is such an asshole about it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "How many statistics were swept down the drain as she went with her thrilling oration?"

    Here we see Somerby's motives revealed. First, he is defending those poor statistics, hapless numbers who cannot defend themselves. Whatta guy! Second, he is clearly envious of Maddow's thrilling ability to orate. I'll bet Somerby was never thrilling in his life!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nothing about the fact that Snyder chose to stop Flint from buying Detroit's water, because it hurt Detroit's bottom line. How come? Too much obvious racism on the part of a Republican, again?

    ReplyDelete
  6. If Somerby doesn't think lead contributes to a gloomy future, he should reread Kevin Drum's analysis of the contribution of lead to crime rates.

    ReplyDelete
  7. "We aren't fans of Maddow's work at this particular site. We regard her as a victim of celebrity and corporate wealth..."

    Such a poor victim. Our heart is bleeding for her, the poor thing.

    "The growth in those numbers has been obscene since November 1. In the past few days, the number has begun to nose down, although we don't know why."

    That's because God COVID The Almighty works in mysterious ways, dear Bob.

    And so do His High Priests at the CDC, though perhaps slightly less mysterious.

    ReplyDelete
  8. ...by the way, dear Bob, as a famous amateur psychiatrist, what's your esteemed opinion of this:

    QAnon for Democrats? Hillary Clinton & Nancy Pelosi suggest Putin ORDERED Trump to launch Capitol siege in unhinged interview

    We are eagerly waiting for further revelations from your zombie cult's leaders.

    Liberal-zombie Cult - Where Fun Never Stops!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL.
      Sure. As if it wasn't for Putin, the Republican base would never try to overthrow the country because black votes were counted in Philly, Detroit and Atlanta.

      The denial of Republican bigotry, is making everyone crazy.

      Delete
  9. My husband and I have been having lots of problems living together, he never gives me attention or makes me happy because he has fallen in love with another woman outside our marriage. I tried my best to make sure that my husband leaves this woman but the more I talk to him about it the more he makes me feel sad and unhappy, My marriage started leading to divorce because he no longer gives me attention. I wanted to forget him but i love him and didn't want to lose him. We have been married for years and he is all I could call a true best friend and best in all, the man that handles my problems perfectly, the man that makes sacrifices for ,my happiness. I wanted him back in my life badly and I was so confused. My Friends told me to buy books about relationships, so I went online for relationship books while I came across a spell caster called Dr Emu. I read testimonies and reviews about him so I contacted him immediately, explained my problems to him. Same day , he casted a spell for me and assured me for 2 days that my husband will return to me and to my greatest surprise the third day my husband came knocking on my door and begged for forgiveness. I am so happy that my love is back again and not only that, we are about to get married again, he proposed. I wouldn't stop talking about him. Contact him today if you need his help via email: emutemple@gmail.com and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay. Website: https://emutemple.wordpress.com/

    ReplyDelete
  10. It is a very hard situation when playing the lottery and never won, or keep winning low fund not up to 100 bucks, i have been a victim of such a tough life, the biggest fund i have ever won was 100 bucks, and i have been playing lottery for almost 12 years now, things suddenly change the moment i came across a secret online, a testimony of a spell caster called DR EMU, who help people in any type of lottery numbers, i was not easily convinced, but i decided to give try, now i am a proud lottery winner with the help of DR EMU, i won $1,000.0000.00 and i am making this known to every one out there who have been trying all day to win the lottery, believe me this is the only way to win the lottery. contact him via email: Emutemple@gmail.com call or whats app +2347012841542 Website: http://emutemple.website2.me/

    ReplyDelete
  11. To know more about Chief Dr Lucky you can visit his website (https://chiefdrluckyherbaltherapy.wordpress.com/)
     
     A friend that suffered from Herpes and was cure with the help of this great herbal doctor Chief Lucky so i decided to contact him for help in getting rid of my families genital herpes virus 1/2 which i did and all i was told to provide was just some useful information and some materials used in preparation of the natural cure and that i did and now i am the happiest person on earth because i am writing this testimony of mine with joy and happiness in my heart to the whole world to know that natural remedy is real because i am a living testimony of Chief Lucky traditional herbal cure and i want you all to contact Chief Lucky via his email: chiefdrlucky@gmail.com or WhatsApp him +2348132777335 am sure he will help you too.

    ReplyDelete

  12. LOTTO, lottery,jackpot.
    Hello all my viewers, I am very happy for sharing this great testimonies,The best thing that has ever happened in my life is how I win the lottery euro million mega jackpot. I am a Woman who believe that one day I will win the lottery. finally my dreams came through when I email believelovespelltemple@gmail.com and tell him I need the lottery numbers. I have spend so much money on ticket just to make sure I win. But I never know that winning was so easy until the day I meant the spell caster online which so many people has talked about that he is very great in casting lottery spell, . so I decide to give it a try.I contacted this great Dr Believe and he did a spell and he gave me the winning lottery numbers. But believe me when the draws were out I was among winners. I win 30,000 million Dollar. Dr Believe truly you are the best, all thanks to you forever

    ReplyDelete