Michael Savage and the Health Ranger both blast scientific illiteracy of conservative media in coronavirus coverage
By Mike Adams
For the last two months, I’ve been fighting scientific illiteracy among the pro-Trump, “conservative” independent media, highlighting the extraordinary examples of bad math and deceptive, biased reporting by numerous conservative pundits and radio hosts who are spreading dangerously bad disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic. It turns out I’m not alone.
Conservative radio host Michael Savage, who has a PhD in epidemiology, has encountered the same astonishing science illiteracy as he observes the things being said by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other conservatives who demonstrate an extraordinary lack of basic science and medical knowledge in their coronavirus coverage.
…[F]or the past two months, listeners to Savage’s conservative radio show have heard him howl with unabated contempt about another menace: “The pimps” in the right-wing media “who tell you what you want to hear.” They are “intellectual dwarfs” and “science illiterates,” he says, who spent weeks downplaying the threat from the coronavirus epidemic and accusing President Donald Trump’s opponents of exaggerating it to hurt him politically.
Savage has attacked the credibility of the conservative media, accused its biggest stars of being too rote and unthinking in their defense of the president, and demanded that they be held accountable for misleading millions of Americans.
“We’re living in a terrible time in America where truth has died,” Savage, who was one of the first conservative media stars to urge Trump to run for president, told his audience. “This is crazy,” he added, pointing to the way the president’s defenders always accuse the left of spreading “fake news.”
“How can we not let our side be called on the carpet when they lie to the people?”
His contempt for hosts like Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, whose top-rated radio shows draw more than 30 million listeners each week, is especially searing. He mocks them as “Dr. Hannity” and “Rush Limbaugh, M.D., Ph.D.,” belittles their lack of education compared with his, and berates people who took their claims seriously.
Michael Savage really is smarter and better informed than the rest of the conservative “influencers”
Back in February, as I was guest hosting the Alex Jones Show, which has featured a wide array of guests on the coronavirus subject (some of whom say the entire pandemic is a hoax), I called for President Trump to appoint Michael Savage to an advisory position to help the president manage the outbreak. In response to this, Savage told an InfoWars producer he wasn’t interested, as he had more than enough to keep him occupied on the subject (which is understandable). Besides, who wants to waste your life in Washington D.C., surrounded by bureaucrats who don’t know anything about infectious disease?
The astonishing lack of knowledge now widely demonstrated by many conservative publishers — a condition I have mockingly called “Stupid-19” — encompasses things like conservative, indy media hosts claiming the regular flu has a 10% case fatality rate, which would mean nearly 10,000 Americans are dying from the seasonal flu each day in America. (The real number, averaged across the year, is about 94 per day.)
Yet this idea has persisted across the pro-Trump media after The Gateway Pundit mistakenly used the wrong numbers from the CDC and claimed the seasonal flu killed 10% of those it infected, while insisting the coronavirus killed only one-tenth as many. This idea was later picked up by Dr. David Brownstein, who repeated the faulty numbers, and from there it flowed to David Knight at InfoWars who clumsily tried to attack me, claiming I didn’t understand math because, he said, the regular flu killed 10%. (Fact check: The regular flu kills less than 1 in 1,000 of those who are infected. See the daily deaths chart comparison in this article, or below.)
Notice how much larger the covid-19 deaths are compared to seasonal flu deaths in the infographic below? Many conservatives look at this and think the light purple box at the right side of the chart is larger than the tall red tower on the left side:
Fascinatingly, none of these conservative outlets have yet corrected their misleading articles that relied on obviously mistaken math, something that Michael Savage would instantly point out if he were to comment on the situation. That why Savage calls conservatives out for their bad, misleading math, condemning them for misleading their audiences into complacency and denialism.
The reason millions of people in America still don’t think the coronavirus is a deadly pandemic, in other words, is because they heard a mathematically illiterate conservative tell them that. And when people like myself or Michael Savage point out the obvious mistakes, those conservatives refuse to correct anything, since they don’t want their numbers to be wrong.
And these are the same people who say the climate models are bad… how would they even know?
Michael Savage has a PhD in epidemiology, and this is not a small consideration
“With no small amount of self-satisfaction, Savage reminds people of his credentials — a Ph.D. and training in epidemiology — and of the fact that he was one of the few voices in conservative media who had warned them all along,” says the Chicago Tribune:
Savage’s coronavirus crusade is partly a reflection of his training as a scientist. He has a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in nutritional ethnomedicine, a field that examines how various cultures and ethnicities use natural products for health purposes. As part of his training, he studied epidemiology. He is a germaphobe and has a survivalist streak.
Savage is trained in epidemiology, while I’m trained as an analytical laboratory scientist using mass spec instruments to test foods for contaminants like heavy metals and pesticides. Both of us are well versed in microbiology, statistical analysis, and science-oriented mathematics. Perhaps that’s why he and I both saw the exponential curve tracking very early, and we raised the alarm to warn others what was coming.
But few other conservative-minded individuals recognized the threat. With very few exceptions, the conservative media has demonstrated a truly shocking degree of scientific and mathematical illiteracy that continues to this day. Even after you show conservatives the mistakes in their math, they still don’t grasp them. As Dr. Savage says, many of these people are, “Intellectual dwarfs.”
Rush Limbaugh, for example, has no formal education whatsoever, yet thinks he’s a qualified expert on every subject under the sun. His understanding of infectious disease is roughly equivalent to that of a seven year old, and his knowledge of basic nutrition is non-existent. (Rush once proudly announced on air that he had root canals performed on all his teeth, all at once, because he didn’t think dental roots served any purpose. He also thinks animals have no consciousness and don’t feel anything. Truly, Rush’s beliefs aren’t just a throwback to the 18th century, they’re almost pre-Roman Era in their lack of modern knowledge.)
Sean Hannity, like many of these people, is a caring, patriotic American who has a tremendous work ethic and a desire to see America escape the horrors of socialism and communism, yet his knowledge in the areas of science, medicine and mathematics is embarrassingly scarce. At one point, he claimed the coronavirus was a hoax, and even though he no longer makes such claims, like most other conservatives, he repeatedly downplays the severity of the global pandemic as a political gambit that smacks of intellectual ineptitude or rank dishonesty. Sean Hannity knows about as much on infectious disease as President Trump himself, which is of course absolutely nothing.
Relying on conservatives to navigate the country through a pandemic is like asking a pole dancer to fly the space shuttle. They don’t have the technical knowledge, period.
Progressives, on the other hand, tend to have much more academic training in these areas, and they were much faster to grasp the repercussions of exponential spread. Personally, I find this fascinating, since most progressives earn an “F” in economics and typically fail to grasp why truly free market systems are vastly better for society than centrally-planned economies. Most progressives, it turns out, are just as illiterate on economics as conservatives are about epidemiology.
The upshot is that most of the opinion leaders in America have horrific blind spots when it comes to technical subjects like economics or epidemiology. And yet almost none of these people recognize their own glaring gaps in knowledge, and they insist they are qualified to discuss everything, even when they have zero knowledge in the areas they’re attempting to cover.
Multi-disciplinary, high-IQ people are extremely rare… and they are usually shunned by society because people don’t want to hear the truth about anything that matters
I’ve found very few people who can intelligently speak about a wide array of subjects with credibility. Michael Savage is one of those people. Alan Keyes is another, and I join him each week for an episode of “IAmTV” (each Tuesday).
I’ve now interviewed Dr. Paul Cottrell three times (not yet a medical doctor, but an academic doctor), and he’s extremely knowledgeable on medicine, biology, finance and economics, making him one of the few people who can intelligently discuss issues across a broad spectrum (see last week’s interview below). I’ve also just interviewed Dr. Shiva, who is running for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, and he is truly a brilliant individual in medicine and economics. He’s probably too smart to be in the Senate, frankly, but he sure would shake up the status quo if elected. (Shiva4Senate.com)
In terms of raw intelligence on finance and economics, Jim Rickards is probably the smartest person you’ll ever be lucky enough to meet, as he is an intellectual giant who understand not just financial models but emergent properties of complex systems (something the dumbed-down banksters and Fed morons don’t even come close to grasping). If you want to understand the coming systemic collapse and freezing of the global debt-based financial system, get Richards’ book, The Road to Ruin (also available on Audible.com).
Peter Schiff doesn’t have the same level of academic training as Rickards, but Schiff has an incredible degree of street smarts when it comes to money and finance. He’s worth following, and he’ll save you a fortune in the next collapse (which might only be days away). SchiffRadio.com
We must all practice discernment when we decide where to get information on technical subjects… not everybody is equally qualified
Finally, I do realize that some of this discussion sounds like arrogance even though it isn’t meant as such. But there’s no question that some people are more qualified to talk about infectious disease than others, and frankly stated, most conservative pundits and hosts have no qualifications whatsoever on the subject.
Which is probably why you shouldn’t listen to them, as they’re giving you bad information, bad math and bad conclusions.
To this very day, there are still conservatives who claim the coronavirus kills only 1 in 1,000 people while the regular flu kills 1 in 10, they say. They’ve got the numbers all twisted around, of course, but they’re too mathematically illiterate to know the difference.
Alex Jones is fond of saying on his show that liberals try to convince us that 2 + 2 = 5. He’s right about that, of course. Part of the left-wing indoctrination of society is to convince people that impossible things are real, like the idea that a biological man can magically transform into a woman by merely wishing it so. Yet what we’re dealing with right now in the conservative media is pundits claiming that 2 + 2 = 400, which is worse by two orders of magnitude.
That gives you a sense of how horribly bad the conservative media is with numbers. (And note that the very same people who screamed about the deficit spending of Obama are now silent as the Trump administration air-cannons trillions of dollars into the skies across America, exploding the annual budget deficit to levels that couldn’t even have been imagined under Obama.)
The conservatives mocking Brian Williams didn’t understand why Williams was wrong, because they couldn’t do the math
Remember when the conservative media mocked Brian Williams for claiming that Mike Bloomberg could have given $1 million to every American because he spent $500 million trying to run for president? Brian Williams was off by roughly 10 ^ 6, and he made a fool of himself and MSNBC (the idea came from a NYT reporter who was also widely mocked for her mathematical illiteracy) with his numerical gaffe.
Interestingly, I’ve tried to explain the concept of “10 ^ 6” to quite a few conservative-minded people, and they don’t understand exponential notation, but they were still mocking Brian Williams because somebody else told them Brian Williams had made a huge math error. Disturbingly, many of the conservatives who were mocking Brian Williams couldn’t do the math themselves.
Here’s the math, in case you’re curious: $1 million given to each of 327 million Americans would require (1 * 10^6) * (327*10^6) dollars, which is 327 * 10^12 or $327 trillion.
That’s because 10^12 is a trillion, 10^9 is a billion, 10^6 is a million and 10^3 is a thousand, and so on. (Exponential notation is an everyday thing in my line of work, where we’re dealing with precise mass-over-volume concentration measurements of liquid food samples such as micrograms per milliliter, or picograms or even femtograms in some cases.)
Yet we have reached the point of Idiocracy where the people who are mocking the idiots in Idiocracy are idiots themselves. That’s what Dr. Savage is pointing out when he calls them “intellectual dwarfs.”
He’s completely correct on that point.
The dumbed-down masses are offended by the right answers, because they contradict their wrong delusions
Michael Savage lives an isolated life, much like myself. You know why? Because in an age of runaway deception and mass self-delusion, the last thing people want to hear is the truth about anything.
Those who utter the truth with numerical accuracy are shunned. The masses demand false narratives… bullsh#t stories that make them feel informed and superior. That’s the role of Fox News, to push a kind of “mathematical transgenderism” on conservatives where a number like “1,000” can magically transform into “10” because you wish it so.
What’s the risk of covid-19 killing you? According to numerous Fox News guests and hosts, it’s “no worse than the flu.” That’s like saying activities like skydiving and yoga are equally deadly. It’s absurd.
As it turns out, mainstream conservatives are no more grounded in reality than radical progressives. They have no better claim on reality than the very Leftists they criticize for being “delusional.” They’re just following different delusions which are just as ridiculous as believing biological men should be able to compete on the college women’s wrestling team.
But anyone who points this out is denounced by both parties, since the last thing any political party wants is members who can think for themselves. That’s dangerous, after all. Blind obedience is what drives political power today, and blind obedience cannot coexist with informed, intelligent people who can do math and understand real-world phenomena.
After all, how can the Left succeed in convincing everybody that carbon dioxide is a pollutant if people understand the basics of botany and photosynthesis? And how can the Right succeed in convincing everybody to ignore the mass looting of the country with banker bailouts if the masses could understand compounding interest and monetary debasement?
The very power of the dominant political parties depends entirely on widespread illiteracy in math and science. Without the illiteracy, the power of both parties crumbles into dust under the merest probe of rational thinking.
And that, my friends, is why Rush Limbaugh, a scientifically illiterate blowhard, is the top radio host in America.
If you want to transcend all this, think for yourself.