Playing the pandemic blues

April 13, 2020

John Summer


As someone who has spent a great deal of time in the world of journalism, I thought I’d offer my perspective on how the national media shapes what we are perceiving with this pandemic and how we are addressing it.

First, it’s important to know that “journalists” in general have a mission: Find the “bad” and report it. The badder the better. We used to call it “if it bleeds, it leads.” That’s just their nature. That’s what attracts them to the business. They want to “right” perceived wrongs…. place blame and advocate for a fix.

As such, most of the reporting of any incident will naturally be hyped. Such is the case with the virus (whatever you want to call it), that we are dealing with today. It’s not healthy, and it’s not helping. In fact, it’s exacerbating the situation.

I’m skeptical, as always, as to how information is gathered and how it is reported. This is true with any information that comes from so called “experts.” God knows we have no shortage of them. We see, hear and read their views all day, every day on the news delivery systems of your choice.

And those experts, within their own small field of expertise, are absolutely certain of their convictions. Scientist “A” is certain of X. Doctor “B” believes Y. And economist “C” proclaims Z.

The fact is (if you appreciate facts)…. The fact is, they are sometimes right and often wrong. Why? Because situations change, data is misinterpreted, and desired outcomes supersede impartiality. As for the gathering of data in the pandemic, much was initially based on information from the Chinese communist government, which is invested in lying to its own people, as well as the outside world. Bad info in. You know the rest.

As such, we end up with predictions and “models” that rarely, if ever, come to pass. And as such part deux, nothing is ever “settled,” especially science. Science is simply man’s feeble and often flawed search to understand his or her existence.

So we end up with policy made through prediction, assumption and presumption, sometimes based on bad data. Side note: If you think science is “settled” with so-called climate change, welcome to life under the “Green New Deal.” We’re living it. No cars. No planes. No economy. No fun — is it? Seems like some skepticism is warranted in making drastic decisions such as this.

But this is what a science-based narrow-minded world view gives us. And it also arrogantly denies a higher power and the faith that helps us to figure out how to survive ordeals. I called it “God denial.” It’s never built into the equation.

I predict (based on past experience) that this will be the case with our current situation. Why again? Because those closed little fiefdoms never take into account the ability of humans to adapt, pivot, innovate, endure, self-preserve, and simply find solutions to their problems. They eliminate the inevitable “surprise” they never thought of or considered. Their t’s are crossed and their i’s dotted without looking around the corner for another possibility. That thing they never counted on. Man’s ingenuity.

And so…. I say wear skepticism as a hat you never take off. Be wary of the doomsday cultists. They are invested in their ideology. Use common sense. Know that there is always an end to a trouble, even if we suffer with a loss.

And everyone is losing something right now, some with great tragedy. But nothing is ever solved by being timid and waiting for others to take care of your problems. Or waiting for dates and deadlines that may or may not arrive. Everyone needs to take their own actions in whatever form they deem critical to their own needs without harming others. This is where we, as Americans, truly excel.

I predict, based on past experience, that we will soon embrace a new day with innovations in: How we practice and administer health; do our business, travel, educate; rely on critical supply chains for energy, health, defense and manufacturing; interface with other countries while ensuring our own security; practice our faith and honor our families. It will be different, but it will be good. And it will happen sooner rather than later because there is always the “surprise” that comes from not accepting the conventional…. and opening ourselves up… to the possible.

As we conclude our Easter and Passover season…. This ordeal is truly the definition of “dying and rising.” We have. And we will.

John Summer is an Emmy and multi-journalism award winning broadcast anchor and investigative reporter who is curious and skeptical, but always optimistic.  John and his family have lived in San Luis Obispo for 25 years.


Nice to hear a view from a former insider looking back in with a wider perspective and wisdom. Thanks for reminding us that we will come out of this ourselves, with a wider perspective, greater wisdom, and some pretty amazing new ways of doing and looking at things.


We have a country FULL of people just WISHING they could “report their neighbors” – this is a power-grab that our society has been conditioned to receive for decades.

Ironically, the name “Karen” is what people call that woman who makes it her duty to “inform authorities” (the irony, as CCN’s very own Karen makes it her duty to inform the public). I don’t know if there’s a male equivalent, as most “you’re not following the rules!” type people are usually women (not all, but most).


Emmy for what? And what journalism awards and how many is ‘multi’? Specifics haven’t quite made it to Google yet.


If you used to say “if it bleeds, it leads”, I believe you now must add “unless it casts an unfavorable light on China”. Why doesn’t a scandal-monger journalist say anything about the number the Chinese report as their total Covid-19 fatalities: 3,341? I suspect the actual number in just the Xinjiang region Uyghur re-education camps is several times what was reported for the entire country.


I highly recommend watching the South Park episode “Banned in China” (which it actually was).


Our county is thankfully reporting the numbers of people who have recovered (117) vs those still sick (21) with covid-19 as of today. Try to find out anywhere else what recoveries are.

You’d think google would have a source for how many recovered in NYC. Can’t find it. Network news never mentions that recoveries are ahead of sick or deaths. Seems like slanted news.


See if this website helps

Scroll down to the chart and you would have to subtract the active cases and deaths from the total and I think that gives you the number you want.

This website is updated at least once a day.


This website may support my point.

It says California stats:

Cases 24086 100%

Active 22421 93%

Deaths 725 3%

Cured 940 4% (inferred from 3 lines above)

While SLO County is (actual data)

Cases 117 100%

Active 21 18%

Death 1 1%

Cured 95 81% (actual)

So I believe the cured rate for the state is closer to the 81% in SLO than the 4% inferred from this website. This fits with reported 15% complication rates and

further 10% death rates. So there are still under reports of recoveries.


Thanks for offering this perspective. It has been surprising how little skepticism there has been in the news and in the general population with regards to the response to the virus, how easy it has been for the few to exert control over the masses, and how willing most have been to simply go with the flow.


It’s frustrating to hear this. None of us want to be isolating right now. 10,000 is a lot of deaths. Shit, that’s Los Osos! You can be skeptical, but when you hear there is a nasty virus infecting countries all around the globe the proper response is to stay away from people.

Thank you all for your sacrifices during this surreal experience.


Man you are going to take a lambasting for that divergence of opinion. I know based on some responses to postings I’ve made on FB.


Can we get the Emmy’s back?

A rambling Grandpa Simpson’s screed makes more sense.

If it bleeds it leads is an “Editorial” mantra, not that of the journalist.

You seemed confused, almost with a touch of animus, as to the basic function of both science and journalism; truth seeking.


If they exist, that is (Emmy’s).