Models and Reporters

McCoy roll eyes Spock walks away

It’s like trying to show someone how to turn on a computer and they don’t understand what a power button is.

One of the struggles I have with reporters is their innate ability to not understand what is being said or to focus on something irrelevant and blow it out of proportion.

Pundits have said that the President doesn’t understand science and that is the primary reason he’s “bungled” the Coronavirus response.   That seems at odds with he’s actually doing.

So today, when reporters  are asking questions about the models, the common refrain is “Wow!  A couple hundred thousand people are a lot!  Can America handle that?  Why is that number so high?  Are you saying we could have done more? ”

I believe they think the model is THE source of authority, when in fact, models only provide guidance on what policies the President is implementing.  And as Dr’s Fauci and Brix explain how they use them in informing the President, reporters are ignoring the important caveats being raised:  The models are only as good as the assumptions and data available.   Having built data models in my career, the good doctors are correct.  And the way to validate model assumptions is to compare what the models projected with actual results.

We won’t know for sure whether the models were good until the worst has passed.  What is true is that New York and New Jersey have pushed the curve towards the higher end of projections.  Even with those exceptions, the data clearly shows that CDC 15 day guidelines are working.  Dr. Brix tried to explain that, but the reporters seem unwilling to listen or they are incapable of understanding how to read that into the models despite very clear graphs of.. real data.

In some ways, I think the reporters are doing their best to discredit the scientists for their past statements in support of Trump’s actions.  Looking for every opportunity to focus on a minor discrepancy to discredit their conclusions is becoming a tiresome act.  It’s clear they are out of their element when it comes to science, and while I think it’s important to question authority, you should always do it from a position of knowledge.  All reporters are doing is demonstrating quite clearly they have no ability to question scientists in a meaningful way to help the public become informed.

Then again, these are the same reporters who parrot conclusions from scientists about the future of the climate that are based ENTIRELY on faulty computer models.  It’s true that climate models are significantly more complex, but you never hear this question asked, “Hey did your models over the last thirty years really work that prove we need to completely retool our economy or that the planet is dying?”


Also, Jim Acosta is an idiot.

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