There’s even a handy Latin name for this fallacy — post hoc, ergo propter hoc — in which something which happened first is assumed to be the cause of what happened next. Maybe The Hill didn’t intend for its headline to imply causation, but it certainly reads that way.
— The Hill (@thehill) April 21, 2020
To be fair, other outlets went with the same angle, like Fox News, the New York Post, and the Independent:
— New York Post (@nypost) April 20, 2020
Kentucky sees biggest spike in coronavirus cases after anti-lockdown protests https://t.co/q1C2a1nhfw
— The Independent (@Independent) April 20, 2020
There’s nothing false about The Hill’s headline, but what’s the connection between the protests and the spike in cases? How many people were even there at the protest?
Wow, shortest incubation period ever. Has the virus mutated?
— Adeptus Archer (@ArcherMint) April 21, 2020
Man that incubation time shrinks drastically when you have a narrative to push.
— Freedom Recon (@FreedomRecon) April 21, 2020
“Kentucky experienced its biggest daily increase in positive coronavirus cases, just two days after anti-lockdown protests,” The Independent reported.
Weren't the protests *this* weekend? Like… 3-4 days ago?
If so, then this is a cynical, manipulative, grotesque headline. https://t.co/6mHgrLgfYy
— PoliMath (@politicalmath) April 21, 2020
I'm beginning to believe that every coronavirus headline is cynical and manipulative, regardless of source.
— Mike the Grate (@mikethegratest) April 21, 2020
They should change the headline to
"Kentucky sees highest spike in coronavirus cases after protests against lockdown… just saying"
— Judgmental Shoelace ?? ?? ?? ?? (@DocKilmer) April 21, 2020
Not only have the protests been deadly, but they’ve accelerated the effects of the contagion!
— SoothingDave (@SoothingDave) April 21, 2020
Considering the incubation timeline, these two things have absolutely no correlation.
Why frame it as such?
Also, why are people believing there is some connection?
— Capitalist pig and ?LOOOOOVING? it (@DezImpeach) April 21, 2020
I'll take two unrelated facts for $200, Alex.
Y'all think your readers are morons, don't you.
— James ✝️?? (@wjamesawill) April 21, 2020
Another case of being factual not truthful @michaelmalice
— BeerBaron (@BeerBaron2020) April 21, 2020
Correlation is not causation, you morons.
— Michael Walsh (@dkahanerules) April 21, 2020
Yeah, this article didn't require talking to anyone in Kentucky.
The phrasing is also excellent – not linked to, or caused by, just "after".
— Maxwell Parrish (@Maxtwell) April 21, 2020
Does this take into account our recent increased testing? Kentucky has lagged behind neighboring states in testing, but within the past week, we've ramped up. @GovAndyBeshear
— Molly Rutherford, MD (@UnbridledMd) April 21, 2020
And these numbers are mostly due to a significant increase in tests. God the reporting on this crisis has been absolutely atrocious.
— You Should Have Voted For Gary (@colorblindk1d) April 21, 2020
I hope that math departments across the country see this and think about having a full-year, non-AP, statistics class as part of the graduation requirements. Alg1, Geometry, IntroStats, Alg2 … for everyone. Innumeracy is a huge social problem.
— Curmudgeon (@MathCurmudgeon) April 21, 2020
Same media outlet that twisted Rita Wilson’s words on the ‘horrific side effects of the drug Trump touted as miracle cure’.
No surprise here.
— Sarre Baldassarri (@sarregoeswest) April 21, 2020
If you read it as implying causation, then I agree. I think it's fair that someone would read it that way.
But it still seems newsworthy if written without implying causation.
— Noah Callaway (@ncallaway) April 21, 2020
And the title strongly implies causation. It seems clear to me that they meant for it to be read that way.
— John Gutilla (@GutillaJohn) April 21, 2020
It all depends on what perspective you bring to the headline — the comments make it pretty clear that those who want to see a correlation between new cases and the protests got exactly that from the tweet.
And there it is. Soon the Red states will be the Dead states.
— Jane Dobry (Dzien Dobry) (@DobryJane) April 21, 2020
Warning, kids: This is what happens when meth and guns become more important to you that education and dental hygiene
— Acid Pit (@PitDean5) April 21, 2020
Natural selection. Doctors and nurses should leave the state
— Javier Gonzales (@Arias2Gonzales) April 21, 2020
Predicted and predictable backfire.
— Bobby Gagnon (@58LesPaul) April 21, 2020
How about this headline instead? “Kentucky sees highest spike in coronavirus cases despite lockdown”?
‘Never forget how heartless they are’: Jimmy Kimmel smears lockdown protesters and Nick Searcy ain’t havin’ ANY of it https://t.co/pewZIKfRjF
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) April 21, 2020