November 2020: 8 stories in 5 publications

Have you seen the news?

While the world has been battling COVID-19 (with scientists making great progress on testing and vaccines), autocrats are using the pandemic as an excuse to grab more power. Fortunately, journalists are exposing political wrongdoing, from Hong Kong and North Korea to the Philippines and even the United States, where the American people said no to President Donald Trump and his allies and chose Joe Biden instead.

But even before the pandemic, journalism was under threat. Not only have many writers and reporters been forced to develop new skills or give up their careers, many journalists and media personalities have been forced to defend their reputations and their work, all while facing the risk of discrimintation, danger, and even death.

Fit to print

At the same time, the media landscape is changing. This has impacted local news and caused big publications to rethink how they work, from Sports Illustrated and The New Yorker (owned by the struggling Condé Nast) to Newsweek and The Times. Unfortunately, more and more people are now choosing tabloids and memes, even though these are often a source of fake news.

Indeed, even though there have always been conspiracy theories (on topics ranging from extraterrestrial life to underground cults) nowadays they seem to be spreading further and getting worse. That’s why the scientific consensus about how SARS-CoV-2 causes death is under threat from people spreading lies and misinformation about lockdowns, treatments, vaccines, and masks, even if it ends up costing people their lives.

Critical thinking

So, before you accidentally end up spreading nonsense you saw on Facebook or Twitter, make sure the source is valid. It’s much like Primo Levi writes in The Periodic Table (also available on Audible):

Reality is always more complex than invention: less kempt, cruder, less rounded out. It rarely lies on one level.

Think before you act.

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Sailing the islands of Thailand (Copyright: Eugene Yiga)
Sailing the islands of Thailand (Copyright: Eugene Yiga)