Ben Smith: Social Media & Responsible Coronavirus Coverage

NY Times Media Columnist and former head of Buzzfeed News, Ben Smith, speaks with Ian Bremmer over Zoom, and rates the job social media companies are doing in the battle against coronavirus-related disinformation.


While not perfect, Ben Smith argues Facebook, Twitter, and others are making strides at eliminating misleading or harmful health-related postings, even from world leaders like Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro. The social media companies' confidence in truth vs. falsity, aided by the clarity of guidance they've gotten from the World Health Organization, stands above these same companies' hand-wringing on allowing hateful or otherwise controversial political statements on their platforms.

Bank of America is working to ensure small businesses are receiving much-needed relief through the Payment Protection Program (PPP). For instance, more than 98% of processed loan applications are for companies with fewer than 100 employees.

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The coronavirus pandemic has monopolized much of the world's attention for months now, but the conflicts and crises plaguing some of the most vulnerable countries have not stopped. In some cases they have only gotten worse. Here's a look at what's been happening in some of the world's most intractable hotspots in the months since the COVID-19 crisis took center stage.

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Mexico's healthcare system kills: Years of underinvestment in its healthcare system has left Mexico woefully underprepared for the emergency now plaguing its 128 million people. As a result, many Mexicans are dying not from the virus itself, but from medical malpractice or other mistakes as overstretched hospitals fail to manage the surging caseload. Anecdotal evidence from cities like Mexico City and Tijuana reveals that a shortage of medical workers means patients in critical care units can go up to eight hours without a visit from an attending physician. That has resulted in otherwise preventable deaths from clogged breathing tubes and septic shock. Meanwhile, scarcity of basic equipment to monitor patients' vitals, like heart monitors, for example, has resulted in what one Mexican doctor called "dumb deaths," referring to patients dying as a result of improper medical care. Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has acknowledged that the country has 200,000 fewer healthcare personnel than it needs to manage the crisis, but has done nothing to meaningfully address the problem. The stakes are climbing. Mexico has now recorded more than 8,500 deaths from COVID-19 (and has one of the highest daily death tolls in the world), though authorities acknowledge this is likely an undercount because of the country's low testing rate.

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The United States reached a grim milestone Wednesday, surpassing 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus in just twelve weeks. It's the highest death toll in the world – and by a big margin. But Americans are not united by grief. In fact, they are more divided than ever. Polls show that Democrats overwhelmingly support stay-at-home orders, anxious to contain the virus' spread, while Republicans are more likely to be concerned with the economic impact of lockdowns and want to get back to work, regardless of the public health toll. Here's a look at how the pandemic, and the measures to contain it, have affected each state to date.

How are public companies giving back during the COVID-19 pandemic?

So, you've seen communities around the world come together to support each other during this pandemic. And we've seen private companies, organizations, as well as public companies use their resources. Many of those public companies are listed on the New York Stock Exchange. So, we wanted to recognize a few of those. There's too many of them to name one by one. But a few you do stand out.

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