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Old 11-24-2021, 09:58 PM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

What a shamelessly sensationalist headline!

From the link... at this stage ... there is no reason to get overly concerned ...
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  #2577  
Old 11-25-2021, 07:40 AM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

Quote:
Originally Posted by mickthinks View Post
What a shamelessly sensationalist headline!

From the link... at this stage ... there is no reason to get overly concerned ...
What do you find sensationalist about the headline?

Quote:

Dr Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London, posted details of the new variant on a genome-sharing website, noting that the “incredibly high amount of spike mutations suggest this could be of real concern”.

In a series of tweets, Peacock said it “very, very much should be monitored due to that horrific spike profile”, but added that it may turn out to be an “odd cluster” that is not very transmissible. “I hope that’s the case,” he wrote.

So warn that it exists because it is concerning. Meanwhile no immediate action is needed but we should be vigilant,

I just don’t see how that’s sensationalist.
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  #2578  
Old 11-25-2021, 10:07 AM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

... warn that it exists because it is concerning ...

Language matters and context matters. The context in which a scientist informs the scientific community of the discovery of a new variant is different from the context in which a global news organisation heralds a scary new threat to the public. (This shouldn't need saying.)

Compare "inform that it exists" and "warn that it exists". Compare "it could be of concern" with "it is concerning".

:rolleyes: Then get back to me.
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  #2579  
Old 11-25-2021, 02:50 PM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

Mick,

I don’t disagree that words have context, but if the headline is as egregious as you say, you would be able to point out how it mischaracterize the article.


I quoted the scientist who literally warns about this new variant.

Sounds to me like you take exception to the scientist’s opinion more than the headline.

A scientist warning that a new variant could be of concern isn’t really different from Scientists warn of new variant.

Literally, they quote the scientist warning of the variant.

Yes, it’s slightly different phrasing.

Smh

Also, you only reference parts of the article that I mentioned in my post, did you read the article? Why don’t you go into the article and pick out the parts of it misrepresented by the headline.
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  #2580  
Old 11-25-2021, 04:10 PM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

... you would be able to point out how it mischaracterize the article.

I feel the article is also overly alarmist, but the headline, lacking the caveats and clarifications, is even more so.

I quoted the scientist who literally warns about this new variant.

That quote describes how Tom Peacock informed his colleagues about this new variant (hence my suggestion to compare "inform that it exists" and "warn that it exists" in my previous post). I don't think there is any justification there for alarming the public about a risk that has yet to be established, let alone quantified.



... did you read the article? Why yes! Yes, I did.
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  #2581  
Old 11-25-2021, 04:21 PM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

Where did you get the word inform?

That’s your word right?

That you can imagine a better word doesn’t make the title sensationalistic. You need to show that the headline doesn’t match the article and sensationalized the story.

Even if informs would have been a better choice, that’s really immaterial.

This is what I responded to.

Quote:

What a shamelessly sensationalist headline!

And your whole problem is that warns is a scary word compared to informs (because there isn’t current danger)

There just isnt a real difference between “informed of a possible danger” and “warned”. Also one can warn of a potential danger.

Quote:
Why yes! Yes, I did.
Yeah, that was unfair of me, you clearly read it enough to pull that one sentence out.
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  #2582  
Old 11-25-2021, 07:03 PM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

I got the word "inform" the same way that the sub-editor got the word "warn".

There just isnt a real difference between “informed of a possible danger” and “warned”.

I think there is, because "possible" can mean "might be a thing" as well as "is an occasional thing". The difference is particularly important when scientists are discussing something which may generate fear or even panic if the public message is not carefully managed.

Even if informs would have been a better choice, that’s really immaterial.

No, it is central to the issue I am raising. Journalists are supposed to have a mastery of the language so as to craft their words carefully. Consider "he was informed that he would be working for Hillary" with "he was warned he would be working for Hillary". If "warned" is not the better choice there, then it is an appalling choice.
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  #2583  
Old 11-25-2021, 07:13 PM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

A couple definitions of warn:

-inform someone in advance of a possible danger, problem, or other unpleasant situation. (google)
-to make someone realize a possible danger or problem, especially one in the future (Cambridge English Dictionary)

That is exactly what scientist Tom Peacock did. He informed other scientists of a possible future danger.

A shamelessly sensationalist headline would have been something like "Scientists say new variant that vaccines don't work on is coming from South Aftrica".
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  #2584  
Old 11-25-2021, 07:38 PM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

Quote:
Originally Posted by mickthinks View Post
I got the word "inform" the same way that the sub-editor got the word "warn".
Yeah, I just wanted you to be clear that this is just your opinion not based on any sort of expert opinion or anything.

Frankly, you get weirdly, overly pedantic about parsing words sometimes(raising just the most picayune objections).


Quote:
There just isnt a real difference between “informed of a possible danger” and “warned”.

I think there is, because "possible" can mean "might be a thing" as well as "is an occasional thing". The difference is particularly important when scientists are discussing something which may generate fear or even panic if the public message is not carefully managed.
Yeah, I get that you would prefer a headline that plays down any possible danger, that doesn’t make it dangerously sensationalist.

Quote:
Even if informs would have been a better choice, that’s really immaterial.
Journalists are supposed to have a mastery of the language so as to craft their words carefully. Consider "he was informed that he would be working for Hillary" with "he was warned he would be working for Hillary". If "warned" is not the better choice there, then it is an appalling choice.

Yeah, in a different context, informs and warns can’t be swapped interchangeably. Your example though is unfair. A new variant presents a potential danger (thus warns is appropriate) working with Hillary doesnt.

Like a better example would be, we should warn/inform anyone who applies to Senator Packwood’s office.

See there is potential danger there, so either word works.

Also as to the potential danger.

Quote:

Ravi Gupta, a professor of clinical microbiology at Cambridge University, said work in his lab found that two of the mutations on B.1.1.529 increased infectivity and reduced antibody recognition. “It does certainly look a significant concern based on the mutations present,” he said. “However, a key property of the virus that is unknown is its infectiousness, as that is what appears to have primarily driven the Delta variant. Immune escape is only part of the picture of what may happen.”
From the article that you sort of read but evidentially didn’t grok.

Keep in mind as well that this article is by the guardian. The variant isn’t in the UK, so to much of their audience

Furthermore let’s look at that quote you pulled cut from context

Quote:

I would definitely expect it to be poorly recognised by neutralising antibodies relative to Alpha or Delta,” he said. “It is difficult to predict how transmissible it may be at this stage. For the time being it should be closely monitored and analysed, but there is no reason to get overly concerned unless it starts going up in frequency in the near future.”
So note that he says it should be closely monitored (probably because it does present a danger,) but we shouldn’t be overly concerned, but he also points out it should be less recognized by the immune system.

Your quoted expert doesn’t say this represents no danger or that we shouldn’t be concerned.
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  #2585  
Old 11-25-2021, 07:59 PM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

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Originally Posted by slimshady2357 View Post
That is exactly what scientist Tom Peacock did. He informed other scientists of a possible future danger.
Just so! He informed them of a new variant he'd identified and said it might turn out not to be dangerous. And Prof Francois Balloux said there was no reason to get overly concerned now.

I don't think the public should be worried, ergo I think "Scientists warn ..." is out of place. Way out of place.
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  #2586  
Old 11-25-2021, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickthinks View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by slimshady2357 View Post
That is exactly what scientist Tom Peacock did. He informed other scientists of a possible future danger.
Just so! He informed them of a new variant he'd identified and said it might turn out not to be dangerous. And Prof Francois Balloux said there was no reason to get overly concerned now.

I don't think the public should be worried, ergo I think "Scientists warn ..." is out of place. Way out of place.
:lol:

But the word warn means inform of a future possible danger and that is what you just said he did! He informed them of a future possible danger, ergo he warned them. Exactly as the headline describes. He certainly didn't say it was harmless, he clearly said it could be dangerous and should be monitored.
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  #2587  
Old 11-25-2021, 08:53 PM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

Quote:
Originally Posted by beyelzu View Post
(raising just the most picayune objections)
Now there's a word that makes this discussion worth reading.
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  #2588  
Old 11-25-2021, 09:22 PM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

Quote:
Originally Posted by beyelzu View Post
Frankly, you get weirdly, overly pedantic about parsing words sometimes
When you start arguing with me about how a sentence must or must not be parsed, it's a bit rich to point the finger at me for pedantry when I engage with you about it.

A new variant presents a potential danger,

Yes, every new variant presents a potential danger. Ergo the potential in that sense is not news unless "the scientists" say it is more than just a surmise. The scientists in this case are saying the opposite. They seem to have bent over backwards to say it is just a surmise.

Like a better example would be, we should warn/inform anyone who applies to Senator Packwood’s office. See there is potential danger there.

You are happier with that example, I'm guessing, because in that case the danger has been established as real. There have been actual cases in which working for Packwood has been harmful. Which supports my point about "potential" referring to varying levels of reality/unreality, and that this matters.

Suppose it was widely known that some characteristic in senators, sporting a Fedora say, was correlated with sexual harrassment of staff. Further suppose that Senator J Doe is advertising for interns, and scientists discover that he wears a hat, but they haven't yet established the style:

Doc Brown tweets to their followers "Senator Joe has a hat. We need to monitor him closely because if it's a Fedora then he might turn out to be a Packwood". Is that informing or warning about Senator J Doe? Does it matter whether Doc Brown was tweeting to their colleagues or responding to questions from a journalist? I think it matters a lot.

Your quoted expert doesn’t say this represents no danger or that we shouldn’t be concerned.

This is true. Tom Peacock said it might turn out not to be dangerous, and it was Francois Balloux said there was no reason to get overly concerned now.
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  #2589  
Old 11-25-2021, 09:45 PM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

Quote:
Originally Posted by slimshady2357 View Post
But the word warn means inform of a future possible danger and that is what you just said he did! He informed them of a future possible danger, ergo he warned them. Exactly as the headline describes. He certainly didn't say it was harmless, he clearly said it could be dangerous and should be monitored.
You can certainly make an argument from the dictionary that the headline isn't a outright falsehood.

I am not saying it's false. I am saying it is shameless, sensationalising, bad journalism.
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Old 11-25-2021, 09:51 PM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

Quote:
Originally Posted by mickthinks View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by slimshady2357 View Post
But the word warn means inform of a future possible danger and that is what you just said he did! He informed them of a future possible danger, ergo he warned them. Exactly as the headline describes. He certainly didn't say it was harmless, he clearly said it could be dangerous and should be monitored.
You can certainly make an argument from the dictionary that the headline isn't a outright falsehood.

I am not saying it's false. I am saying it is shameless, sensationalising, bad journalism.
Yes, you can certainly make a very good argument using proper definitions of words that the headline is true. Are you saying that the truth is shameless, sensationalising, bad journalism?
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  #2591  
Old 11-25-2021, 09:54 PM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

I don't think it is a good argument that the headline is true. But it is an argument and I am not taking issue with it.

I am taking issue with the headline. I believe it is shameless, sensationalising, bad journalism.
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  #2592  
Old 11-25-2021, 09:59 PM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

The wild sensationalism continues, this time from a government. Will no one just stay calm?

South Africa to be put on England’s travel red list over new Covid variant | Coronavirus | The Guardian
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  #2593  
Old 11-25-2021, 10:00 PM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

Right, and I'm taking issue with you claiming the headline is shameless, sensationalising, bad journalism because the headline is true. Exactly what it says, did indeed happen.

They didn't try to exaggerate it, they didn't try to present it in as shocking a way as they could, they simply reported what happened.
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  #2594  
Old 11-25-2021, 10:27 PM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

I believe you are relying on a false dichotomy. True in the strictest sense can also be sensationalist and bad journalism (unless the journo has been hired to be sensationalist rather than principled).
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Old 11-25-2021, 11:36 PM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeP View Post
The wild sensationalism continues, this time from a government. Will no one just stay calm?

South Africa to be put on England’s travel red list over new Covid variant | Coronavirus | The Guardian
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guardian article
Hundreds of people who have recently returned from South Africa, where the variant was detected, and neighbouring countries are expected to be tracked down and offered tests in an effort to avoid the new variant entering the UK.
If it's as bad as they fear, they won't be able to stop it entering the UK - it likely already has done - but these measures might slow the spread down somewhat, allowing a bit more time for research and planning.

Have they given this new variant a Greek-letter name yet? :chin: Lambda and Mu were assigned to variants first discovered in South America - these are the eleventh and twelfth letters of the alphabet. I guess someone decided to start at eleven for 'less serious' variants? :shrug: You'd expect the next major threat variant to get 'Epsilon' - unless that letter already has some special meaning in some countries, or in languages other than English.
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  #2596  
Old 11-26-2021, 03:33 AM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

Quote:
Originally Posted by mickthinks View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyelzu View Post
Frankly, you get weirdly, overly pedantic about parsing words sometimes
When you start arguing with me about how a sentence must or must not be parsed, it's a bit rich to point the finger at me for pedantry when I engage with you about it.
Dude, your entire argument is over how to parse the headline (whether or not it’s sensationalist). Unless I just agree with you, necessarily to discuss this I will have to discuss how you are parsing words. I could be the biggest pedant in the world and it would have fuckall to do with whether or not you are given to flights of excessive pedantry.




Quote:

A new variant presents a potential danger,

Yes, every new variant presents a potential danger. Ergo the potential in that sense is not news unless "the scientists" say it is more than just a surmise. The scientists in this case are saying the opposite. They seem to have bent over backwards to say it is just a surmise.
It amazes me that you take language that people are using to not overinflate the danger in order to argue that there is no danger and the literally true article is sensationalist. Also, I quoted the two scientists who expressed exactly why this variant is dangerous as opposed to every new variant that doesn’t have many spike mutations that increase infectivity and decrease antibody recognition.


Necessarily this early we are dealing with limited evidence, so surmising is all we have.


Quote:

You are happier with that example, I'm guessing, because in that case the danger has been established as real. There have been actual cases in which working for Packwood has been harmful. Which supports my point about "potential" referring to varying levels of reality/unreality, and that this matters.
Naw, it shows that you disingenuously chose an example with no real danger in order to make your point. What I would like is to not use dumbshit analogies.




Quote:
Your quoted expert doesn’t say this represents no danger or that we shouldn’t be concerned.

This is true. Tom Peacock said it might turn out not to be dangerous, and it was Francois Balloux said there was no reason to get overly concerned now.

Which means it might also turn out to be dangerous and that we might need to be overly concerned later which means this is exactly the sort of potential danger that someone would warn about.

Fwiw, I don’t think youre actually this stupid/divorced from reality. I think you’re trolling for fun and I don’t care to play.
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  #2597  
Old 11-26-2021, 07:33 AM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

Quote:
Originally Posted by mickthinks View Post
I believe you are relying on a false dichotomy. True in the strictest sense can also be sensationalist and bad journalism (unless the journo has been hired to be sensationalist rather than principled).
They didn't try to exaggerate it, they didn't try to present it in as shocking a way as they could, they simply reported what happened.
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  #2598  
Old 11-26-2021, 08:15 AM
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Default Re: Winnie the Flu

They didn't try to exaggerate it,...
I think they exaggerated the concern that scientists had (and still have) about this new variant.

... they didn't try to present it in as shocking a way as they could,...
I think they made the variant seem more threatening than the facts as they stood then meritted.

... they simply reported what happened.
I disagree. I think that is a naive view of journalism in general and this piece in particular.
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Old 11-26-2021, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beyelzu View Post
Dude, your entire argument is over how to parse the headline (whether or not it’s sensationalist). Unless I just agree with you, necessarily to discuss this I will have to discuss how you are parsing words. I could be the biggest pedant in the world and it would have fuckall to do with whether or not you are given to flights of excessive pedantry.
* mickthinks sighs

We could now have a discussion about what pedantry is and whether or not the issue of sensationalist reporting of science in a politically explosive pandemic is as picayune as you seem to think it is, but reading between the lines here, I'm guessing that is just the kind of discussion you'd rather we didn't have.

So instead, as a shortcut if you like, I am fending off your "pedantry" charge by pointing out that it was your choice to quibble about my words.

Physician heal thyself.
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Old 11-26-2021, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by mickthinks View Post
They didn't try to exaggerate it,...
I think they exaggerated the concern that scientists had (and still have) about this new variant.

... they didn't try to present it in as shocking a way as they could,...
I think they made the variant seem more threatening than the facts as they stood then meritted.

... they simply reported what happened.
I disagree. I think that is a naive view of journalism in general and this piece in particular.
That's cool. I think you're way overreacting to the word warn and trying to make something out of nothing.
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