Week 2. It’s only Week 2 (for my family and my community in Austin.) I’ve dropped the pretense of having this blog be about reading, although I am reading something fascinating that I’ll get around to writing about eventually.
Below are some graphics from a newsletter sent by a market research firm called Gradient Metrics. It’s an excellent newsletter so far and I highly recommend subscribing.
The graphics leave no room for misinterpretation. Based on someone’s political stripes, they are perceiving the news with dramatic difference. Never has this been more relevant than in the face of a global pandemic. The bottom line is this – Republicans are more likely to believe that the media is exaggerating the severity of COVID19. This gulf in understanding collapses once COVID19 actually arrives to a community – evidenced by the gap reduction in Washington state.
The second graphic, which outlines trust of various institutions with regards to COVID19, shows a 50/50 split between aggregate trust/distrust of Trump and of the media, reinforcing the conclusion of the first graphic.
Clearly, the media was not wrong about COVID19. This is not mass hysteria. This is real. And if half of the country was led to believe this was a lie, or an exaggeration, then there’s clearly a reason why we have failed so badly in our response. If people don’t believe there’s a problem, they aren’t going to shelter in place, or work from home, or take necessary precautions to socially distance.
Will a global pandemic be enough to force people to ask themselves whether perhaps their information is wrong? Whether they have been misled, lied to, and manipulated for years?
Most people are unwilling to reevaluate their current position or opinion based on new information. What if they take a trip to the ICU? What if a loved one has to be intubated? What if someone they love dies? Is that enough? What does it take to free people from the grips of this monstrous clown?
Okay, some rays of hope. Here we go:
Stay safe. Send memes. Wash your hands.