Big Left has had to reckon with the idea that, among major states, Florida and its science-driven approach to Covid has been more successful than the states that Big Media cast its lot with last year.
And by “reckon”, I mean “try to undercut, among the ‘try-not-to-think-too-hard’ crowd” that is the “progressive” base.
The Atlantic tries to cover both sides of Florida’s approach. And the story makes a decent shot at fairness of a sort:
If you want to say something declarative that will be proved wrong in a few months, I strongly encourage you to comment on Florida. Liberals projected that the state would suffer disproportionately for its casual approach to the pandemic, but its deaths are in line with the national average. Conservatives hailed the state for its open-air and open-business approach to 2020, but the available evidence doesn’t seem to prove that Florida’s economy is doing exceptionally well compared with those of its southern neighbors.
And, in fact, the story notes that Florida’s record, on Covid fatalities and economics, is relatively middle of the road:
As far as I can tell, though, it didn’t. At 4.8 percent, its unemployment rate is 18th in the country, and not meaningfully different from that of the median states, South Carolina and Virginia, at 5.3 percent. Real-time data tracking state spending and employment show that Florida is doing, again, no better than average. Compared with January 2020, its consumer spending is down 1 percent, which is right in line with the national average. Its small-business revenue is down about 30 percent—again, almost exactly the national average. These statistics may be missing something. But the national narrative of an exceptionally white-hot Florida economy doesn’t match the statistical record of its performance.
I mean, true – as far as it goes.
But that wasn’t the standard that was set for Florida, then or now .
Nearly a year ago, the media looked up from polishing Andrew Cuomo’s toenails only to confidently predict Florida’s policies would lead to a Walking Dead-level die-off that never came.
The Atlantic piece compares Florida with the average, and finds it right there.
But the valid comparison is with New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts – states with the opposite, media-blessed approach.