Dear The News Media
I know I haven’t been paying much attention to you for a while – mainly since the whole Diana volte-face thing, though there’s no need for me to get into that again here – but I thought I’d just write you a quick note.
I notice that you’re currently rather concerned about alerting me to the possibility of swine flu. Not just me, obviously, everyone with eyes and ears to see, read or hear your latest updates, but I won’t presume to speak for other people. As you and I both know, public opinion is a startlingly nebulous thing, and can change overnight… yeah, okay, I’m circling back to the Diana thing there, I guess, so I’ll move on.
Anyway, whilst I really appreciate the warnings about swine flu, I… well, in all honesty, I’m beginning to think this is a bit of a cry wolf situation. You might remember that towards the tail end of 2001, you seemed intent on telling me that I was likely to receive anthrax in the post, and that didn’t happen to me at all (or to anyone else I know, come to that). And shortly after that, you alerted me to the dangers of SARS, and then bird flu, both illustrated with lots of pictures of people wearing those paper masks over their mouths, and much use of the word ‘pandemic’.
As we both know, I didn’t die of anthrax or SARS or bird flu. Some people did, granted, and that’s obviously a bad thing, but I’m kind of certain that the ratio of coverage to actual statistical risk was pretty badly out of whack. A cynical person might almost think that the issue was being exaggerated to fill column inches or airtime.
I’m sure you can see why I might be sceptical about the real likelihood of swine flu being a ‘pandemic’ (the preferred word for these things now, it seems, just as ‘terrorists’ are now ‘terror gangs’). I’ll bear the possible risks in mind, but on the basis of past experience, you can’t really blame me for thinking that you’re just scaremongering and talking out of your arse.
Hope the family’s well –
Lots of Love