Wait … before you jump on this opinion piece in USA Today, note that the tweet linking to it does not properly describe the article. James Davis argues that the reason people don’t trust their public health officials is because of a massive communication problem. Dr. Anthony Fauci says one thing, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky says something contradictory, and none of it lines up with what the WHO is saying.
Americans don't trust their public health experts, a serious problem in the best of times but downright dangerous amid a pandemic. https://t.co/XGGDg5udOZ
— USA TODAY Opinion (@usatodayopinion) January 26, 2022
Davis notes that, according to the Washington Post, Walensky has sought professional communications coaching. Is she still seeking it? Because if she’s found it, it doesn’t show. Davis writes:
Americans don’t trust their public health experts, a serious problem in the best of times but downright dangerous amid a pandemic. Just 44% of Americans trust in the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, while only 40% trust Dr. Anthony Fauci (the nation’s point man on all things COVID) according to an NBC News survey conducted this month. Trust in politicians is even lower.
Poor communication is a problem that has spanned both the Trump and Biden administrations, as well as authorities in red, blue and purple states. Public health officials went from “masks do not work for the general public” (former Surgeon General Jerome Adams) to “we have clear scientific evidence they (masks) work, and they are our best defense” (former CDC Director Robert Redfield) back to “a single-layer cloth mask just isn’t cutting it” (Adams). This kind of shifting advice has made protecting public health and safety more difficult, leading people to turn to armchair immunologists for answers.
They still can’t get the message straight about masks. Look at President Biden, who just today took off his mask and inexplicably handed it to Justice Stephen Breyer. Biden wears a mask at the beach to walk his new puppy but was caught without one at a Nantucket bookstore.
How ever could this have happened? Hmmm… 🤔
— King Dinösaur (@ScottMWest) January 26, 2022
The problem is the “experts,” not Americans
— UnderwhelmingPotato (@UnderwhelmingPo) January 26, 2022
That’s what the piece argues; as we said, the tweet is misleading.
From the same media that said don’t gather in crowds during a pandemic UNLESS it is to protest racism. You wonder why people don’t trust? Look in the mirror.
— Timothy Utley (@dharmajunky) January 26, 2022
"Americans don't trust LIARS…"
I fixed it for them.
— Hi (@hollis4congress) January 26, 2022
I guess lies can be considered a form of poor communication
— Ron Bassilian (@Ron4California) January 26, 2022
— SteelCitySon (@SpeaktoMatthew) January 26, 2022
Shocking, how could this happen when they got everything right?
— Tamas Vida (@Fantom4sz) January 26, 2022
2 weeks to flatten the curve (told to us 22 months ago)
— Thornton Melon (@URaRa_Wisconsin) January 27, 2022
Maybe it’s the inseparable nature of “experts” and the political machine. Maybe it’s the revolving door of big pharma board rooms and public health offices. Maybe consistently inconsistent public policy. Maybe it was encouraging protest/marching at the height of pandemic.
— Derek E. Brown 💬 (@Derek_esq) January 26, 2022
After the face masking pivot and the abrupt lockdown pivot when the riots of summer 2020 hit, who can blame the public for not believing a word they say. If you don't know, say so. And there can't be different rules for your favorite flavor of political activism.
— Niko Sillanpää (@antiantioedipe) January 26, 2022
Did the health experts consider not being wrong or contradictory at every step
— Freddie Leatherbury 🇺🇸 (@fleather98) January 27, 2022
Imagine thinking "inject this into your body or you'll lose your job" would instill trust
— MAB (@MAB) January 26, 2022
Nobody could have predicted this. All they did was act in an utterly untrustworthy way.
— Man of Straw (PhD) (@Throrf) January 26, 2022
Is it because they told us to "trust the science" and we did but now they're telling us the masks we've all been in wearing for the past two years don't actually work against viruses and the vaccines we all lined up to get have stopped working in less than a year? pic.twitter.com/I3bjgYkA4d
— Minnie (@Minnie2343242) January 26, 2022
The health experts that originally lied about masks to control inventory? The experts who changed their minds each week leaving everyone confused? Or the public health experts who signed a letter saying go protest at the height of a pandemic?
Or maybe the tik-tok dance experts?
— BURNT Rubber (@KURT_bball) January 26, 2022
Recall NYC’s “Health Commissioner” in Feb 2020, encouraging people to visit Chinatown. “Xenophobic not to”, she said
Also recall when they said attending 2020 BLM riots is OK
Yeah, I wonder why they’ve lost credibility
— Krypto (@krypeater) January 26, 2022
When you prove yourself totally untrustworthy you lose the trust of the people.
From bogus claims, to suppression of truth, to shifting narratives, to telling people to take to the streets by tens of thousands for one movement but to STFU for others—they totally earned it 💯
— Mark Schipper (@TheMarkSchipper) January 26, 2022
Telling people it was OK to go to massive Black Lives Matter protests because “racism is a public health issue” really was the breaking point for a lot of people.
Of course we don't trust the "experts", they have been wrong about Every. Damn. Thing.
— Patriot Party Member (@TrumpFL) January 26, 2022
Davis also makes the suggestion not to demonize people: “A better approach is to be empathetic, data-driven and educational – not bullying or condescending.” Good advice.
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) January 27, 2022