Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Calm, please

Carrying on my thought of yesterday in connection with the reporting of the 'flu outbreak, I'm grateful to those people who have been in touch (and thanks for doing that).

It turns out that I'm nowhere near to being on my own in my opinion. Have a look at this wonderful blog from Jennifer Viegas. It has a very calm set of FAQs which I urge everyone to read.

I was also pointed to this blog which has such a jaw-dropping statement that I will repeat it here:
The current outbreak is evolving rapidly, and the risk that it poses is not yet fully understood.  The World Health Organization has not declared the current outbreak to be a pandemic.  However, if the current strain were to cause a pandemic, it has the potential to slow the pace of the economic recovery that CBO expects to take hold later this year.
Now, to be honest, I'm not entirely sure how important the Congressional Budget Office is, and the Director would appear to be a political appointment. Nevertheless let me just repeat "The World Health Organisation has not declared the current outbreak to be a pandemic. However, if the current strain were to cause a pandemic..."

This is exactly the sort of construction I mentioned yesterday. The WHO haven't declared a pandemic - but it might be. Yes - but it might not. I feel that any form of adult, official, organisation should be rather more responsible.

So - one post agreeing with me and one with a rather different opinion. So what? Responsibility - that's what, in my opinion. We all have a choice - given that we don't yet have enough information. We can be optimistic or pessimistic; upbeat or downbeat. I do not suggest blindly ignoring the possible dangers. I do take task, however, with the "black or white" nature of the way this outbreak is being reported. I suggest that the press should credit its readers with a slightly higher IQ. We can all cope with shades of grey in meaning - we are intelligent people and will cope. 

In the press as in business - treat everyone as adults (and intelligent adults at that), and we will all be able to make our own minds up given the data and information rather than opinion.

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