In his book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, Jordan Peterson lists rule 8 as, “Tell the truth – or at least, don’t lie.” This is pretty good advice for life and one I think most reasonable people aspire to, even if they don’t always get it right. As parents, we get told to be honest with our kids. Even if they buy the lie now, they will probably see the truth at some point, and then you have broken the trust between your child and yourself. If that’s how we should treat children, then so too, adults. This is a rule that government, media, and pharmaceutical companies should remember in dealing with information around the COVID pandemic.
Most governments want people to get vaccinated and they see this as the best way out of this crisis. I also understand that there are many people who are opposed to the vaccine or at the very least are hesitant about it due to the lack of data regarding the long-term effects or because the mRNA vaccine is a new type of vaccine unlike others we are used to receiving. However, it doesn’t help to persuade people to get it by lying or covering up issues around the virus. It only serves as fodder to those who are opposed to it to show the lies and deceit and hence create enough doubt so as to give their platform real credibility. “If they are lying about this then who knows what else they are lying about”. Here are just two examples:
When the virus first broke out, some people speculated that it may have come from the lab in Wuhan. Those people were labeled as conspiracy theorists, and media and social media companies alike even moved to discredit, cancel or ban content that put forward such a viewpoint. Now it turns out that not only is it the most likely cause of the virus, but in fact, it seems the NIH and the US taxpayer were involved in funding the lab for Gain of Function research. For those of us who don’t understand, it basically means that they were trying to create more deadly diseases than the original virus. I can understand why Anthony Fauci and the US government would want to shut this conversation down, but once the truth comes out it just makes them look incompetent at best and liars at worst and only fuels conspiracy theories.
A second instance is around Ivermectin. CNN recently went on a smear campaign against popular podcaster Joe Rogan who was unvaccinated and used Ivermectin prescribed by a doctor as part of his treatment protocol. Because the CDC had been trying to dissuade people from using the Ivermectin used on animals, they ran a story that he had treated his illness with a horse de-wormer. This was patently untrue. The biochemists who created this drug shared the Nobel Prize and the drug is used to treat river blindness amongst other things and has helped countless people. The efficacy of Ivermectin against Covid is disputed and there still seems to be very little data on whether this anti-parasitic drug is a viable treatment against the novel Coronavirus. The problem is that when you lie and try to attack someone with a larger platform than your own you are going to be exposed.
Rogan confronted Dr. Sanjay Gupta (the CNN medical expert) on his show and called out the media for the lie and misinformation. Yet CNN doubled down when Don Lemon in another interview with Dr. Gupta said it was not lying to say that Ivermectin is used on horses. That wasn’t the point and certainly not what they had tried to portray. The fact is that Rogan was prescribed Ivermectin for humans, by a doctor, and instead of making him out to be a fool they ended up with egg on their face and again provided fuel to the argument that mainstream media are intent on shutting down any alternative conversation regarding Coronavirus.
Unlike those who think the general populace are all idiots who need to be told what to do, or lied to in order to achieve certain objectives, I believe most people are moderate, intelligent, and capable of making good decisions. I don’t buy the theory that most people are stupid and we need Big Brother to help us along like children who don’t know any better. Give us the information and we will try our best to make educated, informed choices that are good for us, our families, and society in general. Once you start to cover up or lie, not only does it cloud our judgment but encourages the belief that we are being lied to all the time and that governments, media and big business can’t be trusted to tell the truth or do the right thing. So, if you want to build a sustainable and credible message, remember rule 8, “Tell the truth, or at least, don’t lie”.