Crusading journalists pumping the coronavirus crisis for outrage clicks could get people killed if hand sanitizer hoarding brings shortages.
eBay is banning all sales of hand sanitizer and face masks on its platform as coronavirus outbreak panic leads to shortages in the regions hit hardest by the COVID-19 disease.
It comes after CNBC previously found listings offering hand sanitizer and face masks at inflated prices. For example, a 20-pack of Gerson 1730 face masks was priced at $148, while a pack of five 2.5-ounce Germ-X hand sanitizer bottles cost $500. The listings were removed after CNBC asked eBay about them.
Economically illiterate, busybody journalists have spun up a media-driven moral panic over coronavirus “price gouging.”
As a result, platforms like eBay and Amazon have prevented the market from rationing vital medical supplies in the midst of a crisis.
The journalists are acting like they’re on a crusade against the Martin Shkrelis of the world. But what they’re really doing is enabling panic buying and hoarding. If we face a critical supply shortage of hand sanitizer, they’ll be partly to blame.
They’re so self-righteous on their high horses while pumping the coronavirus for outrage clicks, yet they don’t understand they’re on the side of the hoarders. They’re interfering with market forces that preserve critical supplies from shortages.
If people keep buying up cheap face masks and hand sanitizer to hoard, the doctors and patients who need them might not get enough. Further, if sellers can’t charge higher prices, suppliers won’t realize they should start ramping up production.
All the way around, CNBC, a leading outlet for market news, is completely misapprehending and subverting the market’s advantageous functions.
But these media outlets are worse than economically illiterate.
They’re also just plain illiterate. Amid their muddle-headed crusade against face mask “price gouging,” they keep calling the masks “face masks.”
Fellow journalists, I implore you to please stop calling them “face masks.” That is a redundant term. Is there any other kind of mask? Surgical masks, medical masks, and breathing masks are all appropriate terminology.
The anti-price gouging crusaders think they know the enlightened way to price medical breathing masks in an emergency, but they don’t even know what to call them.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.
This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.