Editor's letter

Ignoring the evidence

What the lab-leak theory, anti-maskers, and a ‘woke’ bank have in common

Did you know that Silicon Valley Bank imploded because it was "woke"? Or that masks provide absolutely no protection against COVID? Or that SARS-CoV-2 was created in a Chinese lab by a sinister "bat lady" in cahoots with Dr. Anthony Fauci? Millions of Americans believe all these statements to be proven fact, despite being unsupported by actual evidence, because that's what they've been told by Tucker Carlson and the far right infotainment system — which knowingly lies to its audience for profit and power. Whether it's peddling stolen elections or mass deaths from vaccines, the recipe is the same: Start with a tiny sliver of information, separate out 99.8 percent of the evidence, inflate with hot air and repetition, and voila! You have The Real Story. Since the audience wants to believe the lie, it will happily add a big dollop of confirmation bias, transforming misinformation into blind certainty.

Take masking. People who equate masks with tyranny recently seized on a meta-analysis of 78 studies as proof that masks are of no value whatsoever. In reality, 76 of the studies were not about COVID masking at all; the two that were showed that masking did substantially reduce infections. Other studies have provided strong evidence that good masks block viral particles. As for the lab-leak theory, there is zero known evidence that SARS-CoV-2 was created in a lab or escaped from one. Scientists have tracked the original COVID cases to people who worked, shopped, or lived near the Wuhan wet market — where SARS-CoV-2 was found on surfaces. And the "woke" SVB? Its board had 11 members. Ten were white. One was Black, one was gay, and five were women. In The Wall Street Journal, Andy Kessler wondered if "12 white men would have avoided this mess," and suggested "diversity" was at fault. No financial institution run exclusively by white men has ever acted stupidly ... Right?

This is the editor's letter in the current issue of The Week magazine.

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