There have been bad takes on Twitter about how the “media” was wrong about this thing or that thing, and therefore coronavirus isn’t dangerous. There is no “media,” but there are individual writers and thinkers whose work should be attended to. Some publications also do comprehensive fact checking and some don’t. The good publications do really well at fact-checking real things, like the number of cases or speed of spread. They may have political opinions you don’t like or agree with but are very good on basic facts (even if they sometimes ignore other facts).
In terms of being “right” or “wrong” in politics, and the consequences of being right or wrong, consider past political behavior in a crisis… both Bush and Obama, whatever else you think of either, reacted to the 2008 crisis with TARP, the stimulus bill, and bank prop-ups, because economists in both administrations had learned the lessons of 1929. Obama was roundly and wrongly condemned for this from the right and from the extreme left, but keeping banks upright is essential to a modern economy. 90 years ago we didn’t realize it. Firefighting: The Financial Crisis and Its Lessons is a good take, although it requires detail, which means 99% of the population lacks the sustained attention necessary to understand it.
Most people vote as a means of tribal identity. Less than half the (voting part of the) country identifies as rightish or Republican, so they foolishly voted for an incompetent who doesn’t have the acuity to run a pizza shop. “Basic competence” is why the White House’s occupant is such a potential disaster. He’s like holding a stick of lit dynamite with a fuse of unknown length. We are now seeing the blowup.
We are now seeing the blowup in a situation that demands high IQ, managerial skills, attention to reality, and fast reflexes, none of which the current White House occupant has. A competent president would have lasered in on removing FDA barriers to COVID-19 testing a month ago. He didn’t. With exponential processes, things can feel normal until it’s too late to prepare. Seriously, read that.
Yes, Trump is that bad, and many of the guys writing about game and women are unfortunately enamored of the stupidest parts of the right and the Republican party. Poor decisions from voters to elect Trump in the first place, and then to elect incompetent Republican Senators who have protected him, are likely going to lead to a lot of deaths.
Yes, the media’s hatred of men and being white is bad and annoying, but dying or being debilitated from a virus in a pandemic is worse. Much much worse. These two things can both be true and one can be a lot worse than the other. Right-wing voters are too tribal to have voted according to Trump’s fundamental incompetence. A lot of people may have to die because the real world exists (if we are lucky, states and local governments will step in). It’s not all Twitter and Fox News (much worse than most publications and not even remotely interested in facts).
This is not a matter of “bias.” This is a matter of real resources, which the country has not prepared, in part because of ineptness in the White House. The inept response is awful now and will likely be worse later. No, I am not a lefty. Think past right versus left. Avoid dogmas. This is “reality” vs “fantasy.” Develop a strong reality bias.
Most people’s ability to separate out what they want to be true and real from what is true and real is poor, and that is why we have the White House occupant we have.
If the other side had won the 2016 election, and the other side’s response to coronavirus had been this incompetent, the right would be screeching about that incompetence, for good reason. We are facing a real crisis with real stakes with someone who lacks the ability to understand what is happening at the helm. He should have been removed by the Senate already and every day the Senate delays removal we inch closer to the brink.
Can you view things correctly, regardless of who’s saying them? Some can, many can’t.