“You can fool some of the people all the time; you can fool all of the people some of the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”
I am sure you’ve heard that old saying more than once. But that was written long before the advent of social media and lately I am wondering if it still holds true. Apart from a small number of really offensive or dangerous posts, people can say anything they want online for the whole world to see and so much of it is presented as fact when it is anything but. That in itself is a real concern, but when I see just how many people believe everything they read and then pass it on and increase the number of people exposed to that rubbish – it’s just astounding (and terrifying).
In recent days, an increasing number of lazy journalists, who wouldn’t have a clue what real research was, are re-publishing all manner of wild claims and ‘reports’ in the main stream media, thereby taking the exposure from thousands of people to millions. Why are we not more concerned about this? Why are we not more discerning? Why are we not doing all we can to verify information before believing it – much less passing it on.
The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly provided fertile soil for millions of seeds to be sown in people’s minds which have no basis in fact. The fear and genuine concern shared by most people leaves us all vulnerable to deception and when it comes to health issues, this deception can have life and death consequences. We know all about the anti-vax campaigners and some of the outrageous ‘facts’ they post online to justify their refusal to be vaccinated. But it seems this has been taken to a new level recently.
Over the past few weeks, three prominent Australians have died of a suspected heart attack. Two famous cricketers, Rod Marsh and Shane Warne and most recently Senator Kimberley Kitching. Three tragic deaths – especially the last two who were both only 52 years of age. Over the past few days I have read a growing number of posts online which link all three deaths to Covid-19 vaccinations. I have even seen a number of outright lies reported as truth about the timing of booster shots for these three people.
If anyone is interested in the facts, according to the Heart Foundation’s most recent figures, an average of 133 people die of a heart attack in Australia every week. That’s 19 people every single day – dying from a heart attack. The only reason we know about these three people is because they had prominent positions in the community. Heart disease has been a huge killer in our nation for decades – long before any Covid-19 vaccines.
Another fact is that in recent years the rate of death from heart attack in Australia has actually been declining – yes, even during the pandemic. Now don’t you think if there was a link between the vaccine and heart attacks that the death rate from heart attack would have risen significantly over the past two years? Of course it would.
Now it took me less than one minute to find the above facts and completely discredit the fake news which attempts to link these three people’s sudden deaths to a Covid-19 vaccine. Why doesn’t everyone make the effort to fact-check the crazy claims which bombard us every day on social media? Perhaps the answer lies in another common saying:
Never let the truth get in the way of a good story!