The headline is from a Jay Rosen essay about the role of reporters which always struck me as the right way to think about the role of the correspondent.
I’m planning on taking a year-long trip. John encouraged me to write about it, and maybe I will. I won’t be posting for a few days as my wife and I travel to the Dakotas to take care of her mother, who has treatable, curable cancer in her mid-80s and is tolerating chemo quite well. Unfortunately, this will be a replay of my trip there last year to take care of my mother, also in her mid-80s, who was dying of a less treatable, not curable cancer. Since the vaccination rate in the county where we’re heading is 37%, we’ll be N95’ing it and on a quasi-lockdown.
I don’t know if I’ll write about our destination’s lack of vaccination — there’s not much to say other than Fox News, Facebook, lack of education, and pure prideful stubbornness. But if I do write about it, I won’t be writing stuff like this CBC story about a rural Manitoba municipality (similar to a county) with a 24% vax rate:
An explanation for Stanley’s low vaccination rate cannot be attributed to a single cause, residents and historians say.
Any account deserves a nuanced, layered understanding, they say, but it stems at least partially from generations of conservative Christians who feel the government has repeatedly turned on them.
“Partially” is doing some heavy work in that sentence because the area was settled by Mennonites. But at least they hint at the real issue:
The scourge of misinformation is evident in some of the discussions CBC had in the municipality. Among them, a retired nurse offered an array of debunked falsehoods, including ivermectin — a horse dewormer that also has a different formulation for prescribing to people with parasitic worms — being a cure for COVID-19, the local hospital filling up because people got vaccinated and even a person becoming blind because they were inoculated. None of those statements is factual.
If the Herman Cain Awards and SorryAntiVaxxer.com has shown anything, it’s that a few stupid memes repeated like prayers on Facebook, combined with a political effort to turn being unvaccinated into a tribal identity, has yielded a group of people who refuse the vaccine. Is there anything there that requires “nuance” or “layers”? If so, I don’t see it.