It’s a plain fact that the
legacy media
don't cover events and stories that are politically inconvenient to their preferred narrative. Ever since outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post made a decision to take a public and political stance against former President Donald Trump (a decision that led to numerous journalistic disasters that
are only now being reckoned with
), the scope of acceptable news stories has narrowed considerably.

Ordinary people, according to the press, cannot be trusted with all the news that’s fit to print but only with information that reinforces mainstream liberal orthodoxy. When reality interferes, such as when evidence emerges that
bolsters the lab-leak theory of COVID-19’s origin
, for example, these self-appointed curators of reality fill up the airwaves with other things. After all, who cares about the cause of a pandemic that killed 20 million?

So it was no surprise that the release of the
2023 Cochrane Review
, which determined that masking is ineffective against the spread of respiratory illnesses such as influenza or COVID-19, was greeted by a chorus of crickets in the media. The review analyzed the findings of 78 other studies that involved more than half a million people from across the globe and found that wearing a medical or surgical mask “probably makes little or no difference” in reducing the spread of respiratory viruses.

This is significant because Cochrane reviews are the most esteemed of their kind. The National Institutes of Health describes them as “
the gold standard for meta-analytic reviews
” because of their low vulnerability to bias and generally higher quality. So when they say masks made no difference in the effort to minimize the damage of the pandemic, it’s probably accurate.

In a sane world, this report is nothing short of a bombshell. The implications behind it are staggering. It means that, among other things, an entire generation of children was needlessly conditioned to fear the bare faces of friends and neighbors, that these same children needlessly suffered with regard to the
aspects of brain development
that require facial recognition, and that the sick and elderly were given a false sense of security while masking, which put countless lives at risk. This was not a small mistake.

Incredibly, the talking heads on
are still pushing the mask line as if it represented the undeniable truth. Rachel Maddow
chastized the attendants
at the State of the Union address just last week for not wearing masks at the event.

Of course, this is the same media figure who once mustered her most earnest gaze and
pleaded with the audience to get vaccinated
because (emphasis mine) "now we know that the vaccines work well enough that the virus stops with every vaccinated person. … A vaccinated person gets exposed to the virus, the virus does not infect them, [and] the virus cannot then use that person to go anywhere else. It cannot use a vaccinated person as a host to go get more people."

The problem, of course, is that Maddow was dead wrong. The vaccine most certainly did not stop the spread of COVID-19 and neither, it seems, do masks afford meaningful protection from the virus. We won’t hold our breath waiting for corrections on either point.

Much like the media’s insistence on
Trump-Russia collusion
, the commitment to mask mandates, lockdowns, school closures, and mandated vaccinations for populations at little risk of serious illness from the virus has resulted in numerous errors that have marred the institution’s credibility. And the refusal to acknowledge these errors, let alone correct them, confirms they deserve nothing but distrust and scorn.


Peter Laffin is a writer in New England. Follow him on Twitter at @

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