Wednesday Feature: Another, Different Pandemic

Happy Hump Day! The purpose of these Wednesday detours from the usual health policy, economics, senior living/senior housing/post-acute care stuff is to help readers and followers either add a touch of levity to their day or (to) cause them to think a bit differently about the world. Consider Wednesday Features as a deviation from the first part of the week, propelling you to the second half and into the weekend.

I’ve come across a pandemic that is different from COVID but the definition fits. This pandemic is also a disease and its prevalent and apparently, without a cure in sight. It also when it afflicts you, does not come with any immunity upon recovery and sometimes, no recovery is really possible.

Pandemic defined is a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease over a whole country or the world at a particular time. This one is worldwide but acutely, seems to be more Americanized. This one is character assassination, the online, social media often, hit and run. The goal is to defame and harm another person, typically out of some hatred, lack of control, or inferiority. It may or may not include “doxing” (revealing personal information, often not fully real, online such as credit information, divorce information, etc.).

When this occurs, those that do it literally seek to destroy the other person or to shame them or their business, harming them personally and financially. Sometimes, implied leverage of some form, akin to extortion or bribery is used. Because today, the internet and social media contain minimal filters (if any), and the media lives on clicks and sensationalism, it is so easy for a story to get “public” before the person the story targets, even has a chance to respond or a chance to head-off publication or to accurately edit skewed or false information.

Once online, good luck trying to remove it. Sites pick up stories and the more potentially salacious, the more links attach. There are even stand-alone sites like that exist for no other reason, than for someone, anonymously, to slander, defame, and literally reputationally assassinate a person or business.  Years can be spent and thousands of dollars toward removal as well for no real result.

Pursuing legal action, such as a defamation suit is lengthy, rarely productive, and while ongoing, the reputational damage mounts. Win the suit perhaps but lose the war as how does one retrieve or fix, what has been wronged – his/her reputation and character.

The video below is from a friend who shared it with me.  It is about Trevor Bauer (probably unknown to most), a former major league pitcher and a very good one at that.  A girl he dated created some pretty sick accusations, posted them online and because he was famous, the media got a hold of them.  His career in Major League Baseball was ruined.  He ultimately proved his innocence, but the damage was done.  The story lived on and even though he was trashed, no one yet has offered anything remotely resembling an apology.  The video story is here:

This story is heartbreaking and evidence of the vicious nature of this pandemic, and it shows no signs of abating. Is there hope?  Of course, there is.  The hope is that good hearted, wise and calm individuals, say enough is enough.  If the trash gets no attention and is actually, pushed back, it slowly ends.  Casualties remain, however, and literally, as in the case of Trevor Bauer, not much can be done after-the-fact.

Happy Hump Day! As I always said to my kids, the internet and social media are not necessarily a source of truth and certainly, not a place to pass through without caution and question.


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