Back in April, as vaccines were starting to become available to just about every adult in America, we wrote about what everyone with a platform, especially professional communicators and still-trusted local news outlets, must do in order for the coronavirus crisis to end.
So how’d it go?
To borrow a line from the TV Show “Entourage” – “How’d the f-ing Bay of Pigs go, Lloyd?”
We very much still have a crisis in this country, with unvaccinated Americans hospitalized and dying every day and millions refusing to budge in their position that they know better than their doctors. One surgeon told me recently he had patients from different walks of life trust him to operate on them, but not to get vaccinated on his recommendation. The reason? Misinformation or, worse yet, disinformation – not just false but designed intentionally to deceive.
That doctor is refusing to operate on anyone unless they get vaccinated. That’s working. But what about the rest of us? How about follow the lead of today’s Detroit Free Press. In an extensive special report called “The Truth About COVID-19 Vaccines,” the local news outlet devotes the majority of its content to providing information to combat misinformation and disinformation. It’s grounded in facts – all sourced so naysayers can follow their own mantra of “do your own research.” It’s all available for free, online and shareable. In fact, the Free Press challenges its readers to share this content with anti-vaxx friends and family in order to change minds and save lives.
Think about what could happen if this type of information could take over social media feeds and take over everything but the poison spewing from certain cable “news” opinionists and talk radio hosts (the ones, of course, who haven’t died from COVID).
The Free Press is not alone. Other news outlets in this market, day after day, night after night, offer interviews with actual experts and try to cut through the falsehoods. Today’s special reporting is an example that should be followed, much better late than never because it’s not too late to save lives and actually turn the page from this painful chapter in our painful history. It’s what we all want (except the willfully ignorant).
Communications and media can still pave the road out. Or it can be a dead end. For those of us in this collective business, it’s still up to us.