Media needs to find balance in its coverage of Trump

first_imgCategories: Editorial, OpinionIt struck me after a number of casual conversations with local Republicans over the past few weeks that they seldom mentioned the Democrats when discussing President Donald Trump’s adversaries.They almost never brought up Charles Schumer, Nancy Pelosi or any other party official. Almost all conversations about roadblocks Trump faces or opposition to his initiatives centered on what was perceived as the media’s biased portrayal of him and his administration, rather than on anything the Democrats were doing.Republicans and conservatives have grumbled about unfair coverage from the “mainstream media” for decades.But the Trump era has brought us to a new plateau, one where the media has moved from adversarial to oppositional. Many observers, on both right and left, have come to see the media as the leader of the resistance. If you care about journalism, it’s a disturbing trend.Many in the media would undoubtedly lay much of the blame on Trump’s “fake news” attacks. But peruse the pages or websites of most of our nation’s leading news providers, and it’s easy to understand why such a perception has taken hold. Former Democratic president Jimmy Carter’s widely reported comments in Maureen Dowd’s recent New York Times column about the media’s coverage of Trump were a welcome acknowledgment of the obvious from someone other than a Trump loyalist. “I think the media have been harder on Trump than any other president certainly that I’ve known about,” Carter said. “I think they feel free to claim that Trump is mentally deranged and everything else without hesitation.” Out of curiosity, I checked the Democratic National Committee’s website this week.Some of the headlines were: “Trump abuses role as commander-in-chief in latest lie.” “Tom Perez on Trump’s executive order to sabotage Americans’ health care.” “Trump’s lapdog Pence must return wasted taxpayer dollars.” That’s what you would expect from the opposition party. The problem is, headlines accusing Trump of “sabotage,” “lies” and more are not uncommon from our major media outlets. That’s why I was curious whether the DNC was still bothering to employ a press staff when it has been made so redundant. We are at a dangerous precipice in how Americans receive and digest information and, ultimately, form opinions.The concern is no longer just the violation of journalistic ethics.The real danger is that millions of Americans no longer view the news media as merely left-leaning but instead as an all-but- declared political movement. All that remains is to nominate a standard-bearer in the next election. Trump and his administration deserve close scrutiny and an adversarial press.The media should keep reporting what they identify as his lies, his failures and his blunders, wherever the facts lead, in every instance.But there are other stories that are being ignored or buried, success stories that more accurately reflect the whole picture. Such stories are seldom assigned, and when they are, they’re usually given a negative spin.Perhaps it’s wishful thinking, but it seems to me the media’s anti-Trump fever has shown small signs of breaking lately.For example, CNN – the worst offender among the cable networks – this week “fact checked” claims by press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders about the president’s accomplishments so far, and, lo and behold, did not pronounce any of them a lie. It was astounding.But there are miles to go. Reversing the path they’re on would require a significant internal overhaul by the nation’s leading media organizations.Doing so could help them regain their lost credibility and restore the majority of Americans’ faith in them as unbiased arbiters of truth and evenhanded watchdogs of government. And, who knows, it might even make Schumer and Pelosi relevant again.Gary Abernathy is publisher and editor of the (Hillsboro, Ohio) Times-Gazette. More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homeslast_img read more

Small shares retain interest

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Ocean’s colours seen

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There can only be one winner in the great Safeway sell-off

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Indonesia should have confirmed coronavirus cases by now: Study

first_img“We recommend that outbreak surveillance and control capacity should be rapidly strengthened in those locations lying below the 95 percent [prediction interval] lower bound to ensure cases are detected if occurring and avoid the emergence of self-sustained transmission,” researchers said in the study.Read also: Climate, immunity, incompetence? Indonesia’s zero recorded coronavirus cases raise questionsAnother study conducted by researchers at United States-based non-profit research institute RTI International in collaboration with researchers from Harvard University, the University of Oxford and the University of Toronto, also showed that Indonesia should be on alert and expect new cases.The study, published on RTI’s website, was carried out by regarding Twitter activity as a proxy for human mobility to predict the spatio-temporal spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus at a global level.Researchers collected tweets produced during the time period when exposure to the coronavirus first occurred up until travel into and out of Wuhan was restricted.They further filtered the database to include users posting at least two tweets on two days consecutively within the area of Wuhan to make sure that the user was physically in the city. The selected users were then reviewed to determine whether they had traveled outside of Wuhan based on the geolocation data of each tweet.“Our main message to health officials is […] to draw up plans to sensitize the population and health providers to the possible emergence of 2019 novel coronavirus, particularly in patients with a history of travel to Wuhan,” said Richard Reithinger, the global health vice president of RTI, as quoted on RTI’s website.Indonesia has suspended flights to and from Wuhan following the city’s lockdown since Jan. 24. The government also imposed a travel ban to and from mainland China on Wednesday in response to the outbreak.Authorities have also enforced health screenings at hundreds of entry points across the archipelago.Topics : A study by a group of researchers at Harvard University has suggested that Indonesia should have confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus already, considering the high air travel volume from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak in China, to the country.The study, carried out by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, revealed that Indonesia’s zero confirmed cases “may suggest the potential for undetected cases in these locations given the expected connection before travel control measures were implemented”.However, the study has not been peer-reviewed. It was published on pre-print server medRxiv on Wednesday. The finding was based on estimates of air travel volume from Wuhan to international destinations and a generalized linear regression model to the predict imports of novel coronavirus cases across 26 locations.With an average daily number of passengers of about 100 people, the model showed that Indonesia should have confirmed one to 10 cases of the novel coronavirus infection.Apart from Indonesia, researchers also found that Cambodia and Thailand had confirmed cases lower than the model predicted. As of Saturday, Thailand has confirmed 25 cases of infection, while Cambodia had reported one case.Meanwhile, Vietnam has reported the same number of cases as the study expected. Singapore had also followed suit as the number of confirmed cases in the country was the same as the study’s 95 percent upper-bound interval at the time it was conducted.last_img read more

Mahathir strengthens hand amid Malaysian political turmoil

first_img“He has total freedom to decide as he pleases,” said Ibrahim Suffian, director of pollster Merdeka.In one of his first acts as interim leader, Mahathir disbanded his entire cabinet late on Monday, opening up political negotiations to form another government.An official from Mahathir’s Bersatu party, which is trying to put together one alliance, said a group of senior members met with Mahathir on Tuesday.The Democratic Action Party (DAP), part of a rival pact, also said it wanted Mahathir to continue in office. Interviews with the KingUnder Malaysia’s constitution, any lawmaker who can command a majority in parliament can stake a claim to form a government, which must then be approved by the king.The palace said the king would hold individual interviews with all 222 elected members of the lower house of parliament on Tuesday and Wednesday, to assess who was likely to succeed.”For Malaysians, the trauma of uncertainty is hard to overstate,” the pro-establishment New Straits Times newspaper wrote in an editorial.The political crisis comes at a particularly bad time for the Malaysian economy, after growth fell to a decade low in the final quarter of last year. Mahathir had been scheduled to announce a stimulus package to deal with the coronavirus outbreak on Thursday.Malaysia’s stock market recovered slightly on Tuesday after falling to an eight-year low on Monday while the currency also rose after hitting a near six-month low.Mahathir and Anwar formed the Pakatan Harapan coalition to defeat the UMNO party and its Barisan Nasional alliance in 2018. Anwar was Mahathir’s deputy prime minister when he was arrested and jailed in the late 1990s for sodomy and corruption, charges that Anwar and his supporters maintain were aimed at ending his political career. “He is the person most likely to be the next prime minister,” said DAP parliamentarian Ong Kian Ming.Whatever the outcome of coalition talks, it will mark yet another realignment of politics just two years after Mahathir made a stunning political comeback to topple former leader Najib Razak and bring down the party that had ruled for six decades – and which he had once led.Mahathir, a former doctor, is credited with transforming Malaysia into an industrial nation from a rural farming backwater when he previously served as prime minister from 1981 to his retirement 2003. Topics :center_img Rival political factions competed to win favor with Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday after he plunged Malaysia into political turmoil by resigning as prime minister, reinforcing the likelihood his shock move will strengthen his power.Mahathir, who at 94 is the world’s oldest government leader, stepped down on Monday but was immediately named as interim prime minister by Malaysia’s king – a role that carries all the authority of a permanent leader.The move effectively broke apart an increasingly fragile and unpopular coalition Mahathir had formed with old rival Anwar Ibrahim, 72, to win government on an anti-corruption platform in 2018. It also potentially freed Mahathir from a pre-election promise to hand over the reins to Anwar before his term ends in 2023. “Just another day in the office,” Mahathir said in a post on his official Twitter account that was accompanied by a series of photos of him reading through paperwork at the prime ministerial desk.last_img read more

Indonesia’s health minister asks Muslim clerics to pray against coronavirus

first_imgThe congress, organized by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), was held in Pangkalpinang, Bangka Belitung, from Wednesday to Saturday. Other senior government officials attending the event were Vice President Ma’ruf Amin, who heads the MUI, and Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi.The health minister – a seasoned military doctor – has repeatedly said he believes the power of prayer is one reason Indonesia has been spared from the virus outbreak so far. He noted that, from hundreds of samples tested by the government, none had come back positive, indicating that the nation was still free from the virus.“We can only pray, while also working, testing and taking action to detect [any virus infection]. If there is [a case of the coronavirus disease 2019], we will respond to it. We are still checking and preventing [the disease]; we are [taking measures] according to WHO standards,” he said as quoted by his opening speech, Ma’ruf said many Muslim clerics had recited the qunut prayer while leading the dawn prayers, and that could have been the reason why Indonesia had remained coronavirus-free. As SARS-Cov-2 swiftly spreads across the globe, infecting thousands of people from Singapore to Northern Ireland, Indonesian Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto, a devout Christian, attended a national Islamic conference on Wednesday to ask Muslim clerics to pray against the lethal virus.“I just landed here last night, [after] joining the Congress of the Indonesian Islamic Community. [The visit] was important, for I wanted to ask for a prayer,” the minister said as quoted by in Jakarta on Thursday.Read also: From military to virus outbreak: What sets Terawan apart from predecessors In Islamic tradition, a qunut nazilah prayer is recited when the Islamic community faces a calamity, including a deadly plague.“Many Muslim clerics recited the qunut prayer. I also read the qunut prayer to stave off danger, epidemics and diseases. That’s why the coronavirus is staying away from Indonesia,” Ma’ruf, who is also a senior Muslim cleric, said. Ma’ruf also expressed his appreciation for Terawan, who has worked hard to anticipate the outbreak. “He is the goalkeeper. Even though other countries have experienced the outbreak, China, Japan, the United States, Singapore and many other countries, [Indonesia hasn’t]. The Health Minister said it is because of the prayers of the Muslim clerics,” he said.The Indonesian government has not reported any cases of the novel coronavirus as of Friday afternoon. Cases of the new disease have been detected in at least 50 countries across the globe. (ghc)center_img Topics :last_img read more

Indonesia confirms new cases, calls for calm

first_imgThe government has called for calm, saying that most cases of the disease are mild, including Case 1 and Case 2.The two patients — a 64-year-old and her 31-year-old daughter — are currently undergoing treatment in isolation at Sulianti Suroso Infectious Diseases Hospital (RSPI Sulianti Suroso) and are reportedly in a stable condition.“They are generally in a good condition. […] As of today, alhamdulillah [praise God], they no longer have a fever,” RSPI president director Mohammad Syahril said, adding that the patients’ shortness of breath and coughing had also improved.“Both can do other activities, they can eat by themselves without being fed, they can change their clothes and go to the bathroom without any assistance from their family or nurses.”The government plans to continue tracing people suspected of having had contact with Cases 1 and 2, now classified as a single cluster, in order to prevent the emergence of new subclusters.Yurianto said the ministry would observe the people identified in the first cluster. He explained that even though not all had complained of having any symptoms related to COVID-19, the ministry would continue to observe them to ensure transmission had not occurred.Indonesia had tested 227 samples as of Thursday evening, two of which were found to be positive. Health officials are awaiting the results of 13 samples, with their providers being kept in isolation at various hospitals, while the rest came out negative.At least five suspected coronavirus patients have died, although four had been confirmed to be negative for the disease.Bayu Krisnamurthi, who led the National Committee for Avian Flu Control and Pandemic Preparedness between 2006 and 2010, said the situation was still under control, as the new cases were linked to the first two cases.“It would be more serious if a community transmission occurred, meaning that a person was infected who had not had any contact with the confirmed coronavirus patients and did not have any travel history to countries experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks,” he said.However, Syahrizal Syarief, an epidemiology expert at the University of Indonesia, said the government was not doing enough to contain the contagion.Syarief, who is also a member of a special expert team established by the government to handle its Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) containment efforts in 2003, argued there were 71 medical workers at Mitra Keluarga Hospital who might have also had close contact with the first two cases.Cases 1 and 2 visited Mitra Keluarga Hospital on Feb. 27, where they were diagnosed with bronchitis.“From the start, I have said that the 71 people who had a contact history with the Cases 1 and 2 must be quarantined and be tested even if they haven’t shown any symptoms because they were obviously at risk [of infection],” he said.Also on Friday, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo released a video about the virus in which he gave tips on how to avoid infection. The video was part of the government’s efforts to calm the public, as panic buying begins to take hold.The President said the biggest enemy was not the virus, but fear triggered by false information.The government has stepped up its efforts to contain the virus by assigning labs under the Health Ministry to conduct throat swab tests and expand the criteria for people who should be tested for the disease.On Thursday, the government announced new travel restrictions for people with a history of travel to coronavirus-hit regions in Iran, South Korea and Italy in the wake of a significant surge in COVID-19 cases globally. Mainland China was the first country to face a travel ban.According to the John Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, 100,330 people had been infected in at least 83 countries as of Friday, with 80,556 confirmed cases and 3,042 deaths recorded in China. Outside mainland China, there were 19,774 confirmed cases with 366 deaths, with the majority of casualties recorded in Italy with 148 deaths, followed by Iran with 124.Topics : “Of the seven, two tested positive for COVID-19, who we will call Case 3 and Case 4,” he added.Yurianto, who also serves as the government’s spokesperson for its handling of the virus outbreak, declined to reveal the genders of the two new confirmed cases. However, he explained that the two new patients were 32 and 34 years old.“Their body temperatures are around 37 to 37.6 degrees Celsius. They suffer from coughing and sniffles, but show no signs of shortness of breath. We hope their condition will improve after our intervention,” Yurianto said.He also declined to identify the location where the patients were possibly infected, stating only that: “One thing is for sure, they don’t live in the same house.” The Health Ministry announced on Friday that two new COVID-19 cases linked to the first two confirmed cases had been recorded, prompting calls for the government to work faster to trace those who have had contact with the infected patients to prevent a mass contagion.The new cases were detected after the ministry traced some 20 people who had been in contact with a woman and her mother — identified as Case 1 and Case 2 — who contracted the virus after the daughter visited a Jakarta restaurant and took part in a dance event that was also attended by an infected Japanese tourist.“We found seven suspected carriers. We took them to the Sulianti Saroso Infectious Disease Hospital for observation and isolation because they showed physical symptoms associated with influenza, such as coughing and a mild fever,” the ministry’s Disease Control and Prevention Directorate General secretary, Achmad Yurianto, said on Friday.last_img read more

Austria shuts museums, suspends all trains to Italy

first_imgMeanwhile, Vienna International Airport on Wednesday reported a 30 percent decline in passenger traffic so far in March compared with a year ago.National museum directors said their doors will be closed until March 31. The state opera and Musikverein, home to Vienna’s philharmonic orchestra, said on Tuesday they would also cancel concerts until the end of March to comply with the government ban on gatherings of more than 100 people in closed spaces.The Austrian National Library has also closed.The country of more than eight million people has so far reported 206 confirmed cases of COVID-19 but no deaths.Topics : Austria said Wednesday it will close its national museums and suspend all remaining trains to neighbouring Italy to stem the spread of the new coronavirus.The decision affects rail links from regions in western and southern Austria which border Italy. All long-distance routes — notably overnight trains to Rome, Milan and Venice — had already been cancelled.The country announced on Tuesday the near closure of its land border with its southern neighbour, now requiring a medical certificate for private individuals arriving from Italy. Cargo transport is exempt.last_img read more

IMF, World Bank call for suspending debt payments by poorest nations

first_img“The coronavirus outbreak is likely to have severe economic and social consequences for IDA countries” which will face “immediate liquidity needs to tackle challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak,” the organization said.Read also: Jokowi relaxes loan settlements to help small businesses cope with COVID-19 effectsThe IMF and World Bank called on the Group of 20 nations to support the initiative for “all official bilateral creditors to suspend debt payments from IDA countries that request forbearance.”In addition, the institutions called for an analysis of the financing needs these countries will face, and whether their total debt load is sustainable.Part of the World Bank, the IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, providing zero or low interest loans spread over 30 years or more, and grants to some distressed nations.In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, IDA commitments totaled US$22 billion, of which 36 percent was provided on grant terms, according to the World Bank.Topics : The International Monetary Fund and World Bank on Wednesday called for governments to put a hold on debt payments from the world’s poorest nations so they can battle the coronavirus pandemic.”The World Bank Group and the IMF believe it is imperative at this moment to provide a global sense of relief for developing countries as well as a strong signal to financial markets,” the Washington-based development lenders said in a joint statement.The move aims to help countries that are home to two-thirds of the world’s population living in extreme poverty — largely in sub-Saharan Africa — and qualify for the most generous, low-cost loans from the International Development Association (IDA) financed by wealthier nations.last_img read more