Dan McGowan Unmasked: Exposing the Unrepentant Mental & Moral Covid Cretinism of a Prototype Rhode Island Apparatchik “Journalist”

Out of the blue, late this past week, Boston Globe Rhode Island reporter Dan McGowan repeatedly approached attorney Greg Piccirilli about his clients’ legal victory (see here; here) in the long running, but recently settled Southwell v. McKee Rhode Island school mask mandate case. It was immediately apparent Mr. McGowan–a very strident advocate of mask mandates for both Rhode Island school children, and indeed all Rhode Islanders, well into the pandemic (here; here; here)—was trolling for some shard of documentation to undermine the plaintiffs’ evidence-based triumph over the failed, anti-scientific statewide school mask mandate policy.

The December 28-29, 2023 email exchanges between McGowan and attorney Piccirilli, interspersed with McGowan’s own germane writings, and the critical randomized controlled data on community masking reveal what McGowan has persistently and dogmatically chosen to ignore, throughout the course of the pandemic, till now.

The full email exchanges can be read in chronological order at this pdf link: McGowan Piccirilli emails 12.29.23

Here is a succinct encapsulation: When confronted by Piccirilli, McGowan mendaciously denies his repeated vociferous, hectoring admonitions for mask mandates between August (for schoolchildren) and twice again in December (for all Rhode Islanders) 2021. McGowan further makes no attempt either in his responses to Piccirilli, or his original opeds, to ever justify his fervent mask mandate advocacy on the basis of objective randomized controlled trial data on community masking (summarized & presented to him here, and here). He relied exclusively in 2021 on invalid, hopelessly confounded (and even manipulated; see Hoeg et al re-analyses of CDC “studies”, here; here) “observational studies,” and those poorly informed Rhode Island public health officials like Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, & Dr. Megan Ranney, promulgating them.  More perversely, like a true Lysenkoist zealot, McGowan persists in his advocacy even now—refusing to acknowledge the uniformly negative randomized controlled trial data on masking—although he currently claims to have been “laissez faire” about masking all along—despite his own written record! And the coup de grace to his journalistic credibility: McGowan’s juvenile response to my citing unrebutted randomized controlled data disproving the “efficacy” of masking, was, “Your opinion is noted.”

Below are res ipsa loquitur extracts from McGowan’s three germane opeds on mandatory masking for Rhode Island schoolchildren and all adults:

It’s time for Governor McKee to show leadership on mandating masks in schoolsMcGowan, Dan. Boston Globe (Online); Boston. 17 Aug 2021.

“But ignoring calls from many other politicians, including Democratic gubernatorial rivals Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea and state Treasurer Seth Magaziner, to issue a statewide mask mandate for all public schools could be harmful to public health… What’s the worst that could happen if you fail to issue a statewide school mask mandate? I can tell you: Sick kids and sick employees… 40,000 students live in districts without such a requirement… But a statewide mask policy is one thing the state can do to ensure that schools are safer on day one. And it takes the pressure off reluctant school committees… It stinks for McKee that he’s the lone holdout of the likely candidates for governor next year when it comes to calling for a statewide mask mandate… It‘s much more important to be right than to be first.

 Yes, Rhode Island needs another mask mandateMcGowan, Dan. Boston Globe (Online); Boston. 07 Dec 2021

“Hours after state Treasurer Seth Magaziner (who is running against McKee for governor next year) called for an indoor mask mandate, McKee spokeswoman Lexi Kriss said the governor ‘continues to evaluate the data and is exploring issuing a recommendation for indoor masking for large indoor gatherings.’… Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency room doctor, public health professor at Brown University, a voice of reason for Rhode Islanders and all Americans throughout the pandemic… It’s a practical approach to addressing a spike that appears to be getting out of control. The threat of the Delta variant had many health professionals alarmed when the state first started seeing 300 new cases a day in early November. That number has tripled in a month. Implementing a mask mandate would not be the kind of loss of face for McKee. Instead, masking up could be a big win for all Rhode Islanders. After all, COVID doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints.”

Governor McKee was slow to the punch, but his mask mandate is reasonable for everyoneMcGowan, Dan; Boston Globe (Online); Boston. 16 Dec 2021

“Was he slower to the punch than he should have been? Probably. Does it make sense to give places like malls an extra weekend of super spreading before they have to require masks? Not really. But he deserves credit for implementing a reasonable mask policy at a time when the governors of Connecticut and Massachusetts are punting those decisions to their local cities and towns… No one is going to praise McKee for how he handled the new mask mandate. But we might end up thanking him later.”





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