July 18, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Wall Street Journal: Kansas Democrats’ COVID chart masks the truth

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An opinion column in today’s Wall Street Journal by Allysia Finley, a member of their editorial board, says Kansas health secretary Dr. Lee Norman fudged data on a chart to make Governor Kelly’s mask mandate look successful.

The Sentinel exposed Dr. Norman’s mask-querade earlier this month, after he showed reporters a chart comparing daily COVID cases for counties that followed Kelly’s mandate with those that rejected it.  Norman’s deceptive chart, shown below, used two separate Y axes to make it appear that counties following the mandate had fewer cases, but they actually had 77% more cases on August 3 – the last day shown on the chart.

Finley writes, “Even a 10-year-old would know better than to draw a graph with separate axes that compares the same trend.”

Kansas Policy Institute, the Sentinel’s owner, used the Kansas Open Records Act to force Norman to turn over the data he used to create the chart, and created what Finley called “a more honest presentation of the data going back to June 22.”

Finley writes, “What the data show is that cases in all counties increased in the nine days after the governor imposed her mandate. This isn’t surprising since many people gathered with friends and family during the Fourth of July holiday.”

“But daily cases increased more in counties that adopted the governor’s mask mandate—from an average of 9 to 25 per 100,000—compared with those that did not—4 to 10 per 100,000. The percentage increase is similar in both groups, but counties that adopted the mask mandate should have experienced a smaller uptick if they were “winning the battle.”

“What makes Dr. Norman’s chart more duplicitous is it doesn’t start until July 12—nine days after the governor imposed her mandate and only when cases started to fall in masked counties after having increased. The difference between masked and unmasked counties was actually larger in favor of the no-maskers one month after the governor imposed her mandate.

Finley also spanked the Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle for covering up Norman’s deception.

“McClatchy newspapers the Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle on Aug. 16 ran a story with the headline: “Kansas began requiring masks, then virus cases dropped. Weeks later, ‘the data is solid.’” The story repeats Dr. Norman’s data distortions. Facts are stubborn things, but Democratic dogmatism is even more resolute.”

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