Brownstone » Brownstone Institute Journal » The Black Hole of Public Broadcasting
The Black Hole of Public Broadcasting

The Black Hole of Public Broadcasting


When I lived in North Jersey, I sometimes listened to WFMU, a free-form indie radio station, unaffiliated with NPR. FMU prided itself on the offbeat music it played and on the quirky personalities of its DJs, who were all unpaid. 

As FMU transmitted no ads, it conducted pledge drives to pay whatever bills a radio station with volunteer DJs who bring in their own records must pay. 

FMU’s pledge drives were characteristically unconventional. One Saturday afternoon, an FMU DJ launched into that formulaic sales pitch spoken both earnestly and, by turns, wearily by all public broadcasters:

“You know we work really hard to bring you shows and music that no one else plays. Unlike other stations, we don’t interrupt that programming with commercials. We’re here for you 24/7/365, even during blizzards and hurricanes. Our DJs don’t get paid. A standard pledge is only pennies per day, blah, blah, blah…”

After continuing in this time-worn vein and tone for a few more minutes, and without breaking his cadence, the DJ added, with some late-breaking exasperation:

“ if you don’t support us by sending a check, well, I hope you get run over by a bus!

His delivery was perfect. I LOL’d. 

But not all public broadcasting is as pleasing. 

Last Wednesday night, I stumbled on the PBS program entitled The Invisible Shield: A Celebration of Public Health. It turns out that Wednesday’s show was one of four parts of a series, which I found the next day on the Net. As I exercised, I listened at 2x to the other three phony and propagandistic episodes.

The PBS series, like so much other public TV and radio content, is profoundly agenda-driven and deeply disconnected from reality. The series’s theme is that we all owe our existence to Public Health bureaucrats, especially for the protection they provide against infectious diseases. 

This is a plainly false premise. Infectious diseases—especially respiratory viruses— are not nearly the threat to the populace that the series, the Covid Era media, or our culture make them out to be. 

I owe my existence to being under 80 and taking decent care of my baseline-vital body. And to food; farmers, harvesters, ranchers, and fishermen sustain infinitely more lives than do Public Health officials. For that matter, so do truckers and food store stockers and checkers. Plus, I grow and forage some of my own vegetables, greens, and berries. 

Germs don’t scare me. If some untoward microbe infects me, my God-given, or inborn, immune system deals with it. Though I take no meds, I might use antibiotics or steroids in a pinch.

Reasonably healthy people didn’t die from Coronavirus infections. Nonetheless, ignoring this core fact, the series demagogically begins by portraying the Black Death and cholera epidemics of centuries ago and noting that improved human waste management thwarted the spread of disease at those times. 

From there, PBS spuriously implies that Covid lockdowns, social distancing, Plexiglas barriers, masks, testing, and tracing were smart and necessary because these were also “Public Health” measures. Linking these long-apart eras and the very different forms of interventions during each is the biggest intuitive leap I’ve ever heard. 

No one who opposed the Covid overreaction has said that modern management of human waste should revert to pre-1900 methods. Further, while “The Invisible Shield” praises sanitation upgrades for lengthening human lives, the show never mentions that when chronically hungry people ate more calories and protein, they lived longer. Further, with much less mining and manufacturing, US jobs have become far less dangerous and many fewer people smoke (tobacco) now. 

In contrast, during the 21st century, segments of affluent societies have begun to eat worse. Consequently, they’ve become obese, diabetic, and/or have cardiovascular damage. Many of these unhealthy people were falsely said to have died “of Covid.” 

The four-hour series is a crass PR-puff piece for the Public Health racket. In it, a string of bureaucrats relentlessly make conclusory, fear-mongering, and superficial five-to-ten-second assertions. Nearly every one of these statements could easily be discredited via cursory cross-examination. But the series’ writers don’t allow facts to get in the way of their agenda. They disgracefully present these self-promoting lies as if they were truth. 

Throughout, the on-camera bureaucrats wear masks. They seem to be among the last not to know, even after four years, that The Virus isn’t scary and that masks don’t work. They also cluelessly laud the vaxx campaigns and portray mRNA shot opponents as dimwitted political partisans. The bureaucrats ignore that the shots failed, as had been promised, to stop the spread of a virus and that more jabbed than unjabbed, people have “died of Covid.” The bureaucrats also decline to mention vaxx injuries and deaths and fail to note the excess deaths in heavily injected nations. 

To falsely connote a state of crisis, the four episodes continually depict pedestrians in masks and visors or hospital patients hooked to medical machines. Throughout, an alternately panicky and mournful, minor-key soundtrack, with plenty of manipulative, single-note piano, cello, and violin, plays in the background as talking heads parrot such buzz-phrases as “soaring cases,” “people will die,” “body bags,” and “blood on their hands” as ambulance sirens wail and excerpts of frantic 911 calls play. If you wanted to parody histrionic Coronamania coverage, you couldn’t outdo this series.

The featured Public Health “experts” continually express frustration that some people ignored their Covid edicts. Blinded by self-importance, these experts can’t understand why everyone didn’t/doesn’t defer to, and obey, them. They seem not to understand that those who disregarded them saw the obvious illogic in, and refused to acquiesce to the suffering caused by, their pronouncements. 

Time has shown that those who refused to stay home, mask up, test and report their contacts, or inject were right: none of this theater worked. Despite their awful job performance, the delusional experts show no humility. 

This epistemically and journalistically bankrupt series relies heavily on the PC trope that minorities were disproportionately killed by Covid. It never cites statistics regarding this differential, nor disaggregates for income or other factors. A cursory Google search reveals data refuting PBS on this point. See, e.g., Covid death rate now higher in whites than in Blacks | News | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. I go by what I see with my own eyes: I know many Black and Latino people. Every one of them has survived the Scamdemic; good to know, but unsurprising. 

PBS pretends not to know that all of the Covid data are highly suspect and that medical mistreatment killed many patients who would have survived with either appropriate treatment or no treatment. 

It’s appalling that PBS could present a four-hour series, focusing mostly on Covid, and never acknowledge that the very slight risk of death presented by this virus was plainly age-driven and that, therefore, locking down the non-old or closing schools made no sense. This conspicuous omission tells you all you need to know about the series’ and the network’s lack of candor and credibility. 

Worst of all, the series says nothing of how lockdowns and Scamdemic spending trashed economies worldwide, have enabled the biggest transfer of wealth in history from the middle class to the already wealthy and have permanently impoverished billions of people. As Fazi and Green observe in The Covid Consensus, this impoverishment has already killed millions. Deaths caused by Covid lockdowns, school closures—and consequent educational deficits and giveaway-induced inflation and poverty will continue to grow as years unfold. On average, the less educated make less money and live shorter lives.

After all that’s happened, the series’ talking heads/cheerleaders still stick to the fable that lockdowns, school closures, masks, testing and tracing, and the shots saved lives. Laughably, the show suggests that only rash, political opposition/obstruction prevented better outcomes. They link NPI and vaxx opposition to MAGA-ism and even to January 6 demonstrations, even though many have pointed out, as I have, that many Republicans injected mRNA and that Trump messed up badly in March 2020 by caving to the public health bureaucrats, subsidizing lockdowns and later, foolishly promoting the jabs, which many Trump opponents—especially minorities— sensibly refused.

Ultimately, this series is the most blatant example of revisionism that I’ve witnessed. The series’ producers glorify the Public Health apparatus’s ham-handed 2020-2023 disruption of American life, which delivered no public health benefits. The series fails to note that Sweden and many African nations that declined to lock down, mask, test, and trace had better health outcomes than did the US. Similarly, a February 2022 Johns Hopkins study confirmed what was obvious to the naked eye: states and cities that imposed many burdensome Covid restrictions didn’t fare significantly better, and often did worse, than did those that applied a much lighter touch; without all or the collateral damage. 

Various public health bureaucrats shown by PBS whine about how hard they worked during the Scamdemic aggregating and crunching phony data and developing rules to harass the public. They audaciously claim, as Democrats do in many other contexts, that the Public Health bureaucracy was underfunded during the Scamdemic and that, to prevent the next pandemic, taxpayers must more heavily subsidize ineffectual bureaucrats. They’re effectively saying, ‘“Spend more on us so we can do more harm.” 

But less is often more; it certainly would have been during the Covid response. The Public Health bureaucracy should be sharply downsized, not expanded. The money saved would be far better spent on annual classes to show students how to eat and be active. Note to educators: discourage carb consumption. The public would also benefit much more if we spent a fraction of erstwhile public health budgets to subsidize healthy food instead of funding the bloated salaries of Public Health bureaucrats, both domestic and international. 

You can lead horses to water but you can’t make them drink. Ultimately, we should accept that many of those who know that eating, drinking, smoking, and injecting some substances will damage their health but will do so anyway. And that, as a result, some people will get sick and die younger than do others. We should also accept that not everyone’s bodies are the same. It’s how life is.

In the series’ final ten minutes, the music changes from grim to cheerful as Public Health grifters say that more people should pursue Public Health careers and that we should more heavily underwrite this extremely overrated enterprise.

In the meanwhile, and as manifested in “The Invisible Shield,” Public Health bureaucrats and the media will continue to lie about everything that’s happened and everything that they’ve done during the Scamdemic. They’ve calculated that, by doubling, tripling, and quadrupling down on untruth, they can avoid ever having to admit that they lied throughout the past four years. 

Anyone connected with this thoroughly dishonest series should be deeply ashamed and discredited for praising Public Health officials’ Scamdemic performance. The public health bureaucrats and the purveyors of this misinformation, and their public broadcasting allies, are a blight on humanity. 

But these two factions are very well-capitalized. Pharma can bankroll private and public media outlets in perpetuity. And taxpayers will continue to subsidize public TV and radio. And NPR and PBS pledge drive pitch-people will repeatedly tell gullible prospective donors how important it is to support “independent” media that keeps them well-misinformed.

Republished from the author’s Substack

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
For reprints, please set the canonical link back to the original Brownstone Institute Article and Author.


Donate Today

Your financial backing of Brownstone Institute goes to support writers, lawyers, scientists, economists, and other people of courage who have been professionally purged and displaced during the upheaval of our times. You can help get the truth out through their ongoing work.

Subscribe to Brownstone for More News

Stay Informed with Brownstone Institute