USA Today published an article on June 12, co-authored by journalists Matthew Brown and Elizabeth Weise. The article is entitled, “Fact check: Bill Gates is not planning to microchip the world through a COVID-19 vaccine.”
Despite the article being filed within the “NEWS” category, as opposed to the OP-ED (or the funnies), their constant throwing around of the word: FACT doesn’t seem to be backed up by anything other than several emphatic statements. The journalists assure their readers that this vaccination scare is silly because, according to their sources:
· Gates is not planning on implanting microchips in people around the world through vaccines. The claim has been debunked multiple times since the beginning of the pandemic.
· “I’ve never been involved any sort of microchip-type thing,” (Gates quote from a call with a USA Today reported on June 3).
· There is no evidence that Gates or any major institution is attempting to implant microchips in people through COVID-19 vaccines.
· Gates and others have repeatedly denied the claims.
So, let me get this straight.
(1) There is not one shred of evidence anywhere on Planet Earth that Gates is up to no good (assuming then that every stone, everywhere was unturned…by these two journalists before submitting their “FACT CHECK”).
(2) Gates has repeatedly denied the claims. (Personally, I put this in the same category as Bill Clinton swearing he never had sex with that woman).
(3) The claim has been debunked—and yet, none of the logic, facts, sources, or reasoning that would provide substantial evidence, comfort, or reassurance to the readers is provided.
The journalists conclude by saying, “Our ruling: False.” And yet who is the “our” in this statement? The journalists who wrote the article? USA Today? And either way…who cares? We already know mass media is about market shares, advertising dollars, effecting social change, and entertainment.
Their “false” ruling is based upon, according to the article, “There is no evidence that Bill Gates is trying to implant microchips in people around the world through COVID-19 vaccines. And, Gates has denied the claim. We rate this claim FALSE because it is not supported by our research.”
Note the very specific wording of the concluding sentence. “We rate this claim FALSE because it is not supported by our research.” Not that it is not supported by the facts, or the evidence, or peer reviews, or history, or the moral or ethical track records of corrupt world leaders revealed on a near daily basis.
No. It is false because it is not supported by the research of two USA Today journalists.
It is no secret that Lord Acton had a pretty good point when he was first quoted as saying, “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” And apparently, at least 63% of Americans hold fast to this considering, according to a recent Yahoo YouPoll, 44% of Republicans and 19% of Democrats believe that Bill Gates is planning to implant microchips in billions of people.
When more than half of a country’s populace believes something to be true, there is probably a bit more to it than rumor, hearsay, mass hallucination, schizophrenia, or some wild conspiracy theory at play. And yet, the two writers of this USA Today article dropped the phrase conspiracy or conspiracy theory no less than 11 times in their short op-ed piece (notably, showing up the first time in the very first sentence of the article).
These journalists handily write off 63% of the country’s population by merely concluding that, “…people are prepared to believe ideas that seem strange and ridiculous to the rest of us. They want to believe it, so they set a very low bar for evidence.”
First of all, who is “the rest of us”? Do you mean the remaining 37% of the population that do not believe Gates is up to something?
And hey, as long as they brought up setting a “very low bar for evidence,” remember how the journalists said this is emphatically false based on their research?
Their research just so happens to be listed at the bottom of their article. Turns out, 4 of their 10 sources are from their own newspaper: USA Today. Other sources include: a quote from a newsletter from the Gates Foundation, Yahoo News, Reuters, and a Ted Talk. Wow. Impressive. The only subject matter experts missing from that list are Dion Warwick and Erik Estrada over at the Psychic Friends Network.
Believe it or not, my point here isn’t to prove or disprove whether or not Bill Gates is a scumbag or not. My efforts in penning this article is to warn those who feed on a steady diet of mainstream media that “trusted sources” are not always as informed as they portend to be. We cannot check our common sense at the door and just “take it all in” without any use of our critical thinking skills.
When listening to mainstream news media outlets, whether it be prime time news, cable news, or national print magazines and newspapers, always:
- Read and listen carefully to what is being said (or not said).
- Regardless of the category, not all “NEWS” is news. There is a lot of unbiased, opinion editorials out there being branded as “NEWS” that are far from “just the facts, ma’am.”
- Pay close attention to whether or not sources are being cited. If so, how credible are those sources?
- Are both sides of a story being presented? (When I took a Journalism class in college, we were taught to always get a quote from people representing BOTH SIDES of the issue).
- If both sides are being presented, is one of the sources or beliefs being mocked or shamed, while the other is being glorified? (Again, journalists are supposed to present what both sides of the fence think and believe—not their own opinion).
- Remember that if only one side of a story is being presented or glorified (even if it is the side you agree with!) this is NOT journalism. G. K. Chesterton once said, “Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers is another.”
- Are straw man arguments being used? (A straw man fallacy is when a particular opinion or belief is exaggerated or distorted in an extreme way, and then the distorted view is torn down, rather than the actual belief or idea being held).
- Are quotations from respected sources being taken out of context? (When we see a name like President Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., the Apostle Paul—we tend to not question the original context, or meaning of the quote, or the belief system of that individual. Rather, we apply the quote to the current situation and assume that we are right because this quote from a great man in history is “backing us up.”)
- Don’t be quick to assume that majority opinion equals fact (or truth). To this argument, I always say, “There were only 8 people on the ark. Everyone else was outside. Where would you have rather been when it started raining?