Rebuilding a basis on which Americans can form a shared belief about what is going on is a precondition of democracy, and the most important task confronting the press going forward. Our data strongly suggest that most Americans, including those who access news through social networks, continue to pay attention to traditional media, following professional journalistic practices, and cross-reference what they read on partisan sites with what they read on mass media sites.
21 October, 2020
Pearl Harbor and September 11th are probably the two biggest news events of the last 100 years. Both lasted less than two hours, start to finish.
The party was my idea. That’s what I can’t get over. Well, I mean, it wasn’t even a party — more like a get-together. There were just six of us, okay? My parents, my partner, and my partner’s parents. We’d been locked down for months at that point in Texas, and the governor had just come out and said small gatherings were probably okay. We’re a close family, and we hadn’t been together in forever. It was finally summer. I thought the worst was behind us. I was like: “Hell, let’s get on with our lives. What are we so afraid of?”
Some people in my family didn’t necessarily share all of my views, but I pushed it. I’ve always been out front with my opinions. I’m gay and I’m conservative, so either way I’m used to going against the grain. I stopped trusting the media for my information when it went hard against Trump in 2016. I got rid of my cable. It’s all opinion anyway, so I’d rather come up with my own. I find a little bit of truth here and a little there, and I pile it together to see what it makes. I have about 4,000 people in my personal network, and not one of them had gotten sick. Not one. You start to hear jokes about, you know, a skydiver jumps out of a plane without a parachute and dies of covid-19. You start to think: “Something’s really fishy here.” You start dismissing and denying.
20 October, 2020
What about the financial benefits of tying together these three interconnects? Are they substantial? And are they enough to pay for the work that would be needed to unify them into a supergrid?
19 October, 2020
Polymeropoulos countered by warning the Russians to stop meddling in American elections. The Russians denied they would ever do such a thing. It was the way most Russian officials behave in such meetings at all levels of government—a lecture about American racism, theatrical incredulity and hurt feelings that the Americans would think the Russians had meddled in American politics. Still, Polymeropoulos was stunned by how unabashedly combative his Russian counterparts were. He had spent his career in a region where people were exceedingly polite, rolling out banquets and plying him with tea, even as he knew they were plotting to kill him. He knew the Russians didn’t like him, but “I would have expected them to be a little more polite,” Polymeropoulos told me.
In fact, the public, which swims comfortably in the digital sea, knows far more than elites trapped in obsolete structures. The public knows when the elites fail to deliver their promised “solutions,” when they tell falsehoods or misspeak, when they are caught in sexual escapades, and when they indulge in astonishing levels of smugness and hypocrisy. The public is disenchanted in the elites and their institutions, much in the way science disenchanted the world of fairies and goblins. The natural reaction is cynicism. The elites aren’t seen as fallible humans doing their best but as corrupt and arrogant jerks. The public, I said, is mired in negation.
The pandemic crisis has been a striking illustration of all this. Information about the virus moved at the speed of light, but the institutions that were supposed to protect public health moved ponderously and were always playing catch-up, while the experts contradicted each other and sometimes themselves. In the US, the CDC kept changing its mind about surgical masks. The FDA seemed to think its mission was to throw out regulatory obstacles to treatment and cure. Given that lives were at stake, these were not trivial confusions.
Elites like Fauci might become more credible if they admitted that they, too, are dwellers in Plato’s cave, like everyone else, even people with multiple PhDs who are awarded long titles by federal agencies. We are all trying to make sense of the flitting shadows. A little humility would go a long way.
18 October, 2020
A site called New York Business Daily ran the article, saying the creditor was squeezing the finances of a struggling Manhattan hotel.