I have always enjoyed reading the Apalachicola Times for its well-written coverage of local events, an interest in the history of the area, fishing reports and Specials to the Times by local contributors and/or regular visitors to the area. I am less interested in but enjoy some of the Guest Columnist articles, with the exception of the one by Ron Hart. I consider his “journalism” to be nothing more than sophomoric snark, full of false innuendo and based on weak attempts to discredit established authorities, in this case focusing on government health officials, Dr. Anthony Fauci in particular (See Jan. 3 “Fauci need to go, common sense needs to be invited in.”).
To make light of “follow the science” as an “arrogant” protestation by government officials trying to manage the pandemic demonstrates ignorance of what science is all about. Scientific theories, often based on preliminary evidence, do not become scientific facts until supporting evidence becomes overwhelming, surviving repeated scrutiny by experts distributed throughout a worldwide scientific community. It is disingenuous to attack science when it is politically opportunistic while unconsciously accepting scientific advances in satellites, semiconductors, lifesaving drugs for cancer and heart disease, to name a few examples that have enriched our lives. These would not have been possible without government support of R and D, i.e. government support of science.
Scientific “facts” also evolve with time as new data becomes available, a phenomenon with parallels to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic over the last 18 months. Early on, advice changed as new data became available, eventually focusing on spread of the virus in indoor environments where overwhelming evidence supported the wearing of masks. Politicizing masks is a sad commentary on our society. To wit, Ron Hart goes further in an attempt to discredit Dr. Fauci and blaming “left-wing government hacks,” citing their early support for animal-human transmission instead of a lab leak.
Zoonotic diseases (animal-to-human) have a long been recognized as instrumental in human viral disease, from the plague to West Nile virus, Ebola, Lyme disease and multiple coronaviruses (SARRS, Middle East respiratory syndrome and more), so it is unsurprising that an early emphasis was focused on animals. One only has to recall the heroic efforts of Dr. Fauci and colleagues in developing vaccines to treat Ebola and mitigating the effects of AIDS to discredit Hart’s insinuation the officials, Including Dr. Fauci, “ridiculed” and “lied” to the public in an attempt to discredit the Wuhan theory. Here too, new information has led to expanding the government’s attempts to determine the source of COVID-19. This, despite the likely fact that we may never get the answer.
In stark contrast, consider the difference between attacking government officials attempting to manage the disease and save lives, with acquiescence to the demonstrable lies of the former president whose early pronouncements claimed, for example, that the disease was not serious and would go away soon (despite early warnings from Peter Navarro); that testing was responsible for the increasing rates of infections; promoting hydroxychloroquine as an effective cure, to the silly idea of injecting bleach.
Perhaps the most insulting fallacy peddled by Ron Hart was the insinuation that a medical practitioner would consider a “recovered patient… a lost customer.” The obvious political slant to this columnist’s assertions is borne out by the nonsensical linking of mask mandates to important issues such as global warming and racism, or invoking transgender as a discrediting issue. Does Mr. Hart have any evidence to support his assertion that “lefties” are identifiable as lone drivers wearing masks? Facetious hyperbole anyone? Stooping to snark, let me offer friendly advice to Mr. Hart, don’t lick doorknobs during the winter.
Finally, I would urge the publishers of the Apalachicola Times to consider the quality of the columns they include in their newspaper.
Resident of Franklin County
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