CNN Overstates Public Risk of Monkeypox, Repeats Biden Lies

  • Biden says ‘everyone’ should be concerned about monkeypox threat, fails to identify it focuses on key demographic instead
  • CNN and rest of the mainstream media repeats lie that monkeypox threatens general public, when most should be unconcerned
  • High-risk sexual behavior, popular among some gay groups, is where the concern should be focused
  • Politically correct public health alerts try to avoid ‘stigmatizing’ certain groups while falsely portraying public health risks to the general public, such as this situation

OUR RATING: Major Negligence. MSNBC-level basic journalistic negligence

Indicted Outlet: Holly Yan | CNN | Link | Archive | 5/22/22

CNN wants you to be as afraid of monkeypox as you were of COVID, and we all need to panic. Biden said everyone should be aware of monkeypox, so the media uncritically reports the same. But the threat patterns are not the same for the general public, just as they weren’t for COVID which preyed on obese elderly patients. Monkeypox, by comparison, seems to prey on gay men engaged in high-risk sexual activity.

You would never know that by reading CNN though.

CNN presents Biden’s opinion as fact, it completely misses the context for the story of who is most likely to be infected, and misrepresents the risk to the public at large.

Major Violations:

  • Opinion as Fact
  • Missing Context
  • Misrepresentation

Here’s the key phrase from the offending CNN article:

Though experts say monkeypox is not as contagious as Covid-19, President Joe Biden said everyone should be concerned about the spread of monkeypox — even as scientists work to learn more about the recent spread.

Biden is not a scientist, most days he seems barely coherent. So what’s the point of a politician proclaiming what the public should be concerned with? It’s just straight fear-mongering, and presenting Biden’s opinion as fact.

Biden says “everyone should be concerned” but is that accurate? Should everyone be concerned?

Should the public be concerned with a potential monkeypox outbreak on par with the COVID pandemic?

To read the CNN article by Holly Yan you wouldn’t really know.

Here’s how they try to split hairs:

“We have a level of scientific concern about what we’re seeing because this is a very unusual situation,” McQuiston told CNN on Thursday.
“We don’t see it in the United States or in Europe — and the number of cases that are being reported is definitely outside the level of normal for what we would see,” McQuiston said.
A top UK health official told the BBC on Sunday that people should be aware of monkeypox — but that the risk to the general population “remains extremely low at the moment.”

OK, so it’s an ‘unusual situation’ and the cases are ‘outside the level of normal’ and ‘people should be aware’ and the risk is ‘low for the moment.’

It would be very reasonable for someone reading this article to think that they are generally at risk for this potential outbreak.

Journalist Alex Berenson outlines the key demographic that should be concerned with monkeypox:

…the monkeypox epidemic – stop me if you’ve heard this before – very much appears to be centered around the sexual practices of gay men. (And bisexual men, also known as gay men who want to pretend they’re straight.) [1]

Somewhere between 5-7% of the US Public currently identifies as LGBT. [2] 

56% of LGBT-identifying people consider themselves ‘bisexual’ and 25% are gay men. [3]

The sexual practices of men, gay and straight, is generally considered more ‘high risk’ than other populations. [4] The scientific studies also confirm that gay men, aka “men who have sex with men” labelled as MSM, have much higher number of sexual partners than do straight men. [5]

Even the CDC admits that the current outbreaks of monkeypox are from male homosexual cases while stressing that the virus can be spread to anyone. [6]

It’s not clear how people in those clusters were exposed to monkeypox but cases include individuals who self-identify as men who have sex with men.

Do not limit concerns to men who report having sex with other men. Those who have any sort of close personal contact with people with monkeypox could potentially also be at risk for the disease.

The Associated Press gives its readers a bit more detail on where the primary risks lie: [7]

A leading adviser to the World Health Organization described the unprecedented outbreak of the rare disease monkeypox in developed countries as “a random event” that might be explained by risky sexual behavior at two recent mass events in Europe.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Dr. David Heymann, who formerly headed WHO’s emergencies department, said the leading theory to explain the spread of the disease was sexual transmission among gay and bisexual men at two raves held in Spain and Belgium. Monkeypox has not previously triggered widespread outbreaks beyond Africa, where it is endemic in animals.

A German government report to lawmakers, obtained by the AP, said it expected to see further cases and that the risk of catching monkeypox “mainly appears to lie with sexual contacts among men.”

The key phrase is the last one, “the risk of catching monkeypox ‘mainly appears to lie with sexual contacts among men.'”

But even that is a bit misleading, since it is not older men, or young boys, who are at risk. It is men who are in high-risk sexual behavior subgroups within the population. Primarily, that is heterosexual and homosexual men that engage in what is known as ‘risky sexual behaviors’ such as unprotected stranger sex with a high-number of partners.

None of this is to ‘victim-blame’ or to ignore the potential viral threat to any group or population. Exceptions will exist that highlight the deviation from the standard rule. There are simply varying degrees of risk for different populations and that is a critical, material, part of the story, it is a necessary element. It does no good to try and alert the general population as to the threat of a virus that appears largely confined to smaller demographics.

By presenting a viral threat to a small part of the population as a generalized threat to the entire population, the media also creates a false sense of calm among higher-risk populations by not highlighting their need for vigilance, and they create apathy in the general population that hears fear-mongering claims that never prove true.

The cost of political correctness which silences speech in science, biology, and public health has been enormous. Here it may literally be costing lives of people who need to hear a particular message to their risk group, but instead CNN adds to that confusion rather than educating the public.

OUR RATING: Major Negligence. MSNBC-level basic journalistic negligence

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