'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrity

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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby TheVat on December 1st, 2019, 4:17 pm 

Fake tweets (of unknown origin) have circulated, purporting to show Corbyn's support of the most recent London Bridge attacker...


Sad to hear the UK is now racing with us to find all the low points on the moral gradient. The philosophy of "anything to win" seems to be a virus that periodically erupts in civilizations, spreading through all spheres of human life.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on February 28th, 2020, 10:07 pm 

Donald Trump’s war on coronavirus is just his latest war on truth
Opinion - The Guardian, 28 Feb 2020
Donald Trump’s assault on facts, experts and science – is now a matter of life and death.

So while US medical officials have been at pains to brace Americans for the inevitability of coronavirus – a matter of when, not if – Trump and his outriders have worked hard to minimise the threat. On Thursday, Trump repeatedly referred to the figure of “15” cases in the US, when the actual figure was 60, and promised that that number would go down rather than up: “It’s going to disappear. One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

[...]

....Trump spoke in the White House briefing room, brazenly contradicting the experts by his side. But it’s now become formal policy, with Trump’s insistence that all federal officials – including those with deep scientific expertise – are to say nothing that has not first been authorised by the White House.

Note the fate of Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. On Thursday he dared say that “we are dealing with a serious virus” with a higher mortality rate than regular flu. That was deemed insufficiently upbeat for the great leader. According to the New York Times, “Dr Fauci has told associates that the White House had instructed him not to say anything else without clearance.”

The new mantra, it seems, is to be one of Trump’s favourite phrases: repeated again on Thursday: “Nobody really knows.” That could be the motto of post-truthists such as Trump, conveying the hope that voters will become confused, concluding that no truth is ever even possible, and that in the fog of information and rumour it’s best simply to trust the man in charge. That’s what Trump wants every American to believe, about coronavirus and everything else for that matter: nobody really knows.

You can't spin or censor someone killing their own grandparents as a result of complacence due to a blind belief in Trumpian miracles, though - not unless you ban testing for the virus in medical centers.

So there is a practical Truth out there that cuts through the sophistry. As the article says, it's just "a matter of when, not if" regarding the spread of such a stealthy virus, and thus the life-and-death Truth, as there are reports of 'community spread' emerging in the US:

US confirms second coronavirus case without links to travel
The Guardian, 29 Feb 2020
Health officials in San Jose said the patient was an older adult woman with chronic health conditions who did not have a travel history or any known contact with a traveler or infected person. It comes a day after state officials said a woman hospitalized at UC Davis health center in Sacramento had contracted the illness after no known contact.

“This new case indicates that there is evidence of community transmission but the extent is still not clear,” said Dr Sara Cody, health officer for Santa Clara county and director of the county of Santa Clara public health department.

What does Trump say about this? "Nobody knows if it's coronavirus, or where that woman has been on holiday recently - do you know? I don't." Meanwhile he's probably telling his secretaries to cancel any upcoming visits to the San Jose area. One would assume he's taking the scientifically-reported risk (empirical Truth) that the virus poses to the elderly - him - pretty seriously. If he contracted the virus, he'd be among the most likely to die from it...
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Hendrick Laursen on March 3rd, 2020, 1:23 am 

What a nice thread!

As of someone who has actually lived some time in the middle east, I can totally relate to the fact that not only what the media portrayal of an actual event might be totally different, the narration could flow in a 180-degrees opposite direction.

So, dictators can be portrayed as majestic rulers, war criminals as heroes, terrorists as peace warriors, and vice versa! You can manipulate facts and data, you can support manipulated election results and you can falsely discredit correct ones.

One great example of misinformation is the curious case of ISIS; depicted by western media as mainstream Muslims, it took years to unravel it's inherent nature, and the fact that from the very beginning it was funded by, and later the oil it stole from Iraq and Syria was bought by some countries (hence sustaining it economically) that claimed to have fought it, the archetype of which is the United States. ISIS set the stage for current civil war in Syria, and Iraq, government after government and coalition after coalition, is as unstable as it has ever been.

It's 19 years since the 9/11; and 17 years since invasion of Iraq. Once I read somewhere that Iraq's oil reserves could last 90 years, well then it has lost 17 years of it to the US!

I guess Machiavelli wouldn't be too happy to live today, because everyone would know his tricks.

So and so, there's the McNamara fallacy, and we could have lots of hermeneutic discussions on whether the truth is achievable at all or not: meanwhile in countries like Yemen, innocent civilians get massacred like every day, and the media filters it away; so we probably hear more about useless stuff than Yemeni people's dire need of help.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby TheVat on March 3rd, 2020, 1:50 pm 

The crisis in Yemen has been thoroughly covered in the United States and the West generally. I've read extended coverage in the Washington Post, the NY Times, Reuters (Canadian news org.), NPR.org, the PBS Newshour, Guardian, and elsewhere. I think the Left in the U.S. is quite well aware of the humanitarian nightmares that our geopolitical bumbling has created. And I would say the Left also understands that mainstream Islam is a religion of peace, and that it is a small set of radical splinters that recruit susceptible young people to their extremist vision of caliphates and jihads. In the Post-Truth Era, the most extreme viewpoints, pumped up by mythologies and conspiracy theories tend to draw clicks on the Internet and drive the conversations.

Just as Far-Right Evangelical Christians are only a small percent of our population in the U.S. and yet seem to have disproportionate political power and influence on the popular idea of what is "Christian."
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Hendrick Laursen on March 3rd, 2020, 6:46 pm 

An article here and there could count as "covering", but when it comes to being Yemeni people, even I cannot totally grasp what's going on there. Only they know.

It's the total destruction of the infrastructures of the weakest economy in the region. It's a humanitarian crisis. It has triggered the largest cholera outbreak in the recorded human history; and believe me, now in 2020, cholera is very easily and cheaply treated. It's f***ing crazy to hear someone die of cholera, let alone an epidemic!

It's like live holocaust, like the last Gaza war. I don't know if the American news networks and media outlets depict it as it is. I don't know how many news for Yemen war is broadcast per every story about one of those idiot Kardashians. People have limited time to spend on media overall, a chunk of which goes to int'l news. It's like hiding a needle among hays.

This is information overload. Someone called it information fatigue syndrome. If I wanna draw a card from old behaviorists, we gradually get desensitized and habituated to specific stimuli, per recurrence. So, if there's a terrorist attack in, let's say Paris, people will mourn everywhere. But when it comes to the Middle East, it's nothing new. Monday some guys were beheaded ear to ear in Syria, Tuesday some old bomb detonated in Afghanistan and killed 4 and maimed 3, and Wednesday an airstrike killed 20 children in Yemen. News of death and destruction are nothing "new" when it comes to the Middle East, so we tend to get desensitized. As if it's not the same human life of a Parisian, when it comes to a Yemeni.

One way to hide something is to bury it within loads of minutiae and irrelevant trivia. That's what I've come to think of most news.

What's the ulterior agenda? I don't know, but it's not so hard to guess. Nevertheless, such coverage hasn't stopped the war, or at least supplying the offending nation.

This is not the case of the 2nd Gulf War and mustering support and sympathy for Kuwaiti people. The plan is changed, it's no longer on the agenda. Yemeni people are alone today.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Hendrick Laursen on March 3rd, 2020, 8:51 pm 

"If liberty means anything at all ... it means the right to tell people what they don't want to hear."

~ George Orwell
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on March 4th, 2020, 6:41 am 

It seems that the West is in the process of resetting it's post-modernist perspective.

Facebook I hear is currently removing hoax info about the coronavirus. It has an ethical stance there and is taking authoritative action. In other areas it is happy to let the falsities sit.

Whomever owns the information channels owns the Truth, and with that great power comes great responsibility. It is not like the facebook users just submit to Zuckerberg's authority.

I believe that if Facebook became flooded with hoax info, it would lose a lot of users. That is probably their main concern. I think it could be a fair enough policy - to trust and follow the economics, but as intelligently as possible, which means remaining as broadminded as possible. The Truth has and can benefit organisations handsomely. And so can narrow-minded non-Truths.

When the non-Truth becomes too 'virulent,' however, then everyone involved is suspected of parasitism and the mutual cooperation game becomes highly unproductive and moves elsewhere.

This is basic game theory, isn't it.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby TheVat on March 4th, 2020, 10:41 am 

This is information overload. Someone called it information fatigue syndrome. If I wanna draw a card from old behaviorists, we gradually get desensitized and habituated to specific stimuli, per recurrence. So, if there's a terrorist attack in, let's say Paris, people will mourn everywhere. But when it comes to the Middle East, it's nothing new.


Hendrick, that is sad but true. This information fatigue effect, combined with geographic distance (it's across an ocean, many Americans will automatically lower their level of concern), does seem to result in a lack of sustained empathy. And a willingness to accept bland statements from our government that "we are working on the problem" when in fact our present federal government has a corrupt relationship with the Saudis and a generally inept approach to the various state supporters of the different factions.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on March 5th, 2020, 1:09 am 

In the news:

"Trump attacked Democrats for warning of the seriousness of the crisis while spreading disinformation and downplaying the outbreak, his critics have said.

Two days before he was announced as a member of the White House taskforce on coronavirus, Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, declared coronavirus “contained” in the US, despite a plethora of data that suggested it was not.

“I won’t say airtight, but it’s pretty close to airtight,” Kudlow told CNBC, swaddling himself in a comforting narrative that was probably destroyed in his first meeting with the task force."

haha

When post-Truth becomes a way of life.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on March 6th, 2020, 8:37 am 

The Trump administration ‘brain drain’ is impeding the coronavirus response
The Guardian, 6 Mar 2020
“The US is badly positioned; the federal government isn’t up to the task,” said Judith Enck, a former regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
[...]
Enck said that Trump “doesn’t seem to understand what a clinical trial is”, a reference to a White House meeting with pharmaceutical executives and public health officials on Monday where the president urged the attendees to release the anti-coronavirus drugs they are working on. “So you have a medicine that’s already involved with the coronaviruses, and now you have to see if it’s specifically for this,” Trump said. “You can know that tomorrow, can’t you?”

In the meeting, Trump wondered aloud why the flu vaccine can’t just be used for coronavirus. When told by Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, that it could be up to 18 months before a vaccine is available to the public, Trump responded: “I mean, I like the sound of a couple months better, if I must be honest.”

At a political rally in Charlotte later that day, Trump told the crowd that a vaccine will be available “relatively soon” before adding that there are “fringe globalists that would rather keep our borders open than keep our infection – think of it – keep all of the infection, let it come in.”

Trump followed this with an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday in which he said the World Health Organization’s figure of a 3.4% death rate from coronavirus is “really a false number” and that his “hunch” is that the level is “way under 1%.” He offered no evidence for his contradiction of the world’s leading health body.

This sort of rhetoric, mixing inaccuracies, wild speculation and blunt nationalism, has raised concerns that many Americans, including ardent Trump supporters, are not getting the right information to deal with the virus outbreak.
“The scientific ‘truth’ about the virus may not match what the administration wants to hear, so the scientific ‘truth’ is at risk of being compromised before it is made public,” said Wendy Wagner, a University of Texas expert in how policy-makers use science.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby TheVat on March 6th, 2020, 10:54 am 

Trump ignoring science and making up nonsense? To quote Capt. Renaud in Casablanca , "I am shocked, SHOCKED... "

I am starting to give more credence to the group of psychologists who say Trump has dementia (his father, Fredrick, had Alzheimer's the last six years of his life).

Many mental health professionals have warned about Trump’s fragile mental state and the danger it puts the country in. Dr. Bandy Lee, a Yale psychology professor, has written about Trump in “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.” Several other leading mental health professionals also contributed to the book.

According to Lee, if Trump wasn’t in the White House, he would have been placed in a mental institution by now. I think that would be a more compassionate outcome than jailing him.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on March 6th, 2020, 2:19 pm 

Mental states are another casualty of the overload syndrome.
With entertainment content - all the mad serial killers, megalomaniacs, fanatics and hijackers of public transport - and infotainment content - Dr, Phil et al - and extensive news coverage of all the dramatic emotional meltdowns involving firearms - and serious discussions of serious mental health issues -
well, we've just learned to see crazy as another kind of normal.

Trump was the same sociopath through his whole public career. Anybody who read his first book - hell, don't even open it! Just look at the cover - could see it coming.

Automatically taking credit for the New York 'renaissance', even while he's driving straight at a bankruptcy, taking the city's money and a whole lot of dispossessed tenants and unpaid workers over the cliff with him.

Even back then, beneath the slick, controlled facade, you could see that mouth forming; you could hear the self-inflation. It never changed; there was no onset of dementia - it just grew and grew and grew - because it kept feeding and people kept feeding it.
PS - I could have sworn there was an interview with Dick Cavett, c. 1974, my earliest memory of that self-satisfied mug - but i can't find it now.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby toucana on March 6th, 2020, 5:41 pm 

One detail that has rather slipped by unnoticed was that Donald Trump never did have that ‘second half’ of his annual medical examination that was supposed to have taken place in February of this year.

You may recall that last November Trump was unexpectedly taken to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for an unscheduled weekend visit. White House staff downplayed the signficance of this incident at the time claiming that the president was simply taking part of his annual physical examination a couple of months early.

http://www.sciencechatforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=145&t=35683

Several details later cast a very different light on this sudden moonlight flit to Walter Reed, notably the fact that the president’s personal physician traveled with him in the same car - which is against all normal SS security protocols (for obvious reasons). It also became known that the staff at Walter Reed had received no advance warning or security briefing relating to this presidential visit, and no precautionary partial closure of the facility had been undertaken either.

Given that the White House itself has a well equipped medical clinic, and staff who can run most types of standard lab-work, it was fairly clear that president Trump had been rushed to Walter Reed for urgent diagnostic tests of a more serious nature. A cardiovascular event might have been one trigger, but so might a seizure or stroke requiring the use of the MRI facilities at Walter Reed.

The last news on when president Trump might be expected to complete his overdue annual medical examination came on 1st March when Jim Acosta of CNN tweeted:
“Trump told reporters at departure to NC that he’ll be undergoing physical sometime over the next 90 days.”
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on March 6th, 2020, 10:24 pm 

I'm trying to picture Alec Baldwin as Dave....
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Hendrick Laursen on March 7th, 2020, 9:03 am 

It seems that gaining more power makes powerful people quite "immune" to the same standards applied to normal people. And, again, there are over-protective 1984-ish people at the backstage trying to figure out the possible implications and repercussions of say, for example, the elected president of the US is suffering from some sort of megalomania, or other disorder that might cloud his judgement. It's quite creepy to note the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists have set their world-famous Doomsday Clock now at 100 seconds to midnight, a harbinger of some looming nuclear blunder and global destruction.

But then again, psychiatry is one of the most abused branches of medical science...
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Hendrick Laursen on March 7th, 2020, 9:11 am 

TheVat » December 1st, 2019, 10:17 am wrote:
Fake tweets (of unknown origin) have circulated, purporting to show Corbyn's support of the most recent London Bridge attacker...


Sad to hear the UK is now racing with us to find all the low points on the moral gradient. The philosophy of "anything to win" seems to be a virus that periodically erupts in civilizations, spreading through all spheres of human life.


As of UK my own assessment is xenophobia drove them off the cliff. The consequences of which are yet to unravel.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on March 7th, 2020, 8:19 pm 

Race to stop economic confidence falling victim to coronavirus
The Observer, 7 March 2020
Confidence is a watchword in any crisis and especially a health crisis, according to the Centre for Economic Policy Research.
In a paper entitled Economics in the Time of Covid-19, the thinktank argues that public authorities must remain “extraordinarily trustworthy” by providing detailed, up-to-date information on the spread of the illness, its severity and the methods available for control. The authors say public institutions must stick to the facts and ignore the politics. They add: “Any attempt to colour the facts weakens the credibility of the announcements and delays the point at which confidence returns.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on March 9th, 2020, 10:39 pm 

Coronavirus: US pledges more testing as Trump hints at aid for workers
The Guardian, 9 March 2020
The evening news conference at the White House came as the stock market plunged and an increasing number of Americans wondered how the official count of virus cases in the country, still in the mid-three-figures, could remain so low despite the aggressive spread of coronavirus elsewhere.

“There will be more cases,” the vice-president, Mike Pence, said. “But we simply ask today for the American people to engage in the common sense practices.”
[...]
Donald Trump appeared briefly at the start of the news conference to announce that the administration was considering a relief package for American workers harmed by the outbreak. Trump did not repeat claims he has made on Twitter that political opponents were exaggerating the health risks posed by the virus to antagonize him.

“This blindsided the world, and I think we’ve handled it very, very well, they’ve done a great job,” Trump said of the virus.
[...]
Trump convened the news conference after a day in which markets plunged thousands of points and Americans expressed fears that disorganization in federal agencies and mixed messages from the White House about the dangers posed by the virus were delaying an effective response.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on March 19th, 2020, 3:47 am 

mmexport1584603743472.jpg

Lol, he really sees the Truth as an ass to kick, doesn't he...

Image
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on March 19th, 2020, 5:59 am 

I'm not at all sure he's what we call "lying". I'm not at all sure he knows the difference between objective reality and his momentary perception - or hunch, or what sounds better, or what 'some very smart people' may have said, or what should have been true.
Anyway, he's done a heck of job, Orangey.
And will do even so much better, now that he's given himself emergency executive powers.
(Has he cancelled the election yet?)
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby TheVat on March 19th, 2020, 12:28 pm 

What's that famous quote, something about six impossible things before breakfast?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Serpent on March 19th, 2020, 1:36 pm 

In Trump's case, that's only one thing done: announce, do, deny, undo, redouble, repeat.
We're all on the other side of the looking-glass now!
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on April 3rd, 2020, 9:50 pm 

Another interesting twist to the post-truth tale:

Public inquiry into No 10's Covid-19 response inevitable, peer says
The Guardian, 3 Apr 2020
The scale of the coronavirus outbreak and the response it has required from government means a large-scale public inquiry is now inevitable, a former head of the civil service has said.

Sir Bob Kerslake said the scope of the decision-making undertaken by politicians and officials had been vast, and, as some of it had already been challenged, there would need to be a chance to reflect upon the UK’s response in case of another pandemic.

[...]

“I hope that even during this clear crisis moment there is a proper record being kept of who made decisions and why, because that will be very, very important. Not to lay blame – though clearly there will be a bit of that – but to plan for the future. We could face this again and it could be even worse.”

Kerslake also warned Downing Street against appointing people with election skills and backgrounds in political messaging over those with the exact skills for the task in hand.

His intervention echoes repeated acknowledgments by ministers that their decisions are likely to be scrutinised at a future inquiry and No 10 accepts that this is likely to be on the horizon.

[...]

You need people who understand the logistical challenges. Experts in disaster relief. A lot of these people already exist within government who look after crisis briefs. Winning elections is good but undoubtedly this is different.

Could it be that post-truthism survives best in relatively stable, developed democratic countries; where the biggest concern is simply dominating the public narrative in order to win power? ..... until a coronavirus epidemic arrives and there's little one can do to spin a covid-19-assisted death?

We discussed this before on this thread; how the ultimate philosophical statement is whether people are still alive or not under a situation.

What is the post-Truth response to "my grandad was in good health before the virus you knew was on it's way to Britain was apparently allowed to run riot and kill more people in UK than in the whole of China; a less developed, less affluent nation, and the most populous nation on the planet. Tell me why."...?

...

"Well... your granddad isn't actually 'dead'... I know a know a great clairvoyant who can..."

*slap*
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on April 4th, 2020, 9:23 pm 

How science finally caught up with Trump's playbook – with millions of lives at stake
The Guardian, 4 Apr 2020
On 6 March, a group of epidemiologists at Imperial College London gave the White House coronavirus taskforce a heads-up about the terrifying projections for the disease they were about to publish relating to the US.

The Imperial scientists’ findings would have induced paralytic fear in all but the most nonchalant American. They likened Covid-19, which by that point had already extended its tentacles into at least 28 states in the US, to the 1918 influenza pandemic that killed 50 million people around the globe.
[...]
on the same day, 6 March, the president of the United States was taking a tour of the Atlanta offices of the federal disease control agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

He was in ebullient mood. He had just heard on Fox News that the latest tally of coronavirus cases in the country was 240, with 11 deaths. Trump and his favourite TV channel were as one in their interpretation of those figures – things were going great, there was really nothing to worry about.
[...]

Trump took to describing himself as a “wartime president”,
with Covid-19 as the enemy. But his dogged pursuit of his own instincts, his preference for letting his “hunches” lead the nation into battle rather than deploying the weaponry of evidence and science, has been the hallmark of his response to the contagion so far.
[...]

he has kept up a relentlessly upbeat facade, downplaying the severity of the threat largely for the benefit of the New York stock exchange.

“We have it totally under control,” he said two days after that first confirmed case and a day before China cut off Wuhan, a city of 11 million.

“We only have five people, we pretty much shut it down coming from China,” he said on 30 January, the day the World Health Organization declared a global emergency.

“It’s going to disappear. One day – it’s like a miracle – it will disappear,” he said on 27 February, the day America mourned its first coronavirus death.
[...]

Trump now has on his watch a public health disaster of devastating proportions. Some 245,573 cases have been confirmed across the states, twice the number in Italy, the second-highest nation in the Johns Hopkins league table.

More than 6,000 people have died and the curve is still rising exponentially. Covid-19 is overwhelming hospitals in New York, New Orleans, Detroit and is hurtling towards the Trump-supporting heartlands. The federal stockpile of essential medical equipment is nearly empty. Ventilators and protective gear for frontline medical staff are running fatally low.
[...]

It is a catastrophe that many scientists and public health emergency experts believe could substantially have been averted, if only Trump had listened.

“This will be regarded as the worst public health disaster in America in a century,” said Eric Topol, professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research in San Diego. “The root cause of the disaster was the lack of readiness to understand where, how and when the disease was spreading.”
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