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What's that saying? The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Welcome to the story of my life! 

Well, this little mouse would like to share another debate for Citizen Jane. It was originally intended to be a fully Facebook Live debate, but due to some technical difficulties, the discussion will be split up into segments, some written, some video. Either way, the content is highly engaging and worthy of both reading and watching!


The topic for this debate is "How is disinformation affecting the response to Covid-19, specifically in the United States?" I am extremely grateful to the two highly flexible debaters Markus Dazkal and Val Parks. 


For some brief introductions: 

Markus works in the software industry as a Project Manager. He is progressive and supports political leaders who are committed to solving problems that affect peoples' lives, fully understanding that the system our founders created has checks and balances, and requires compromise and flexibility to get anything done. He has no patience for those who can only attack from the sidelines while accomplishing nothing of value themselves.


Val is a retired Corrections Officer. She works as a crossing guard part time.  She wants leaders who respect Democracy and believe that justice is for all people.  She believes that no person has the right to usurp the dignity of another.  Conservation of our planet is of paramount importance  to her.


The debate will be divided into 4 segments once entirely completed. I will update with the continued segments as we go along.. 


The first: How has the media responded to Covid-19? What have they done poorly so far? What have they done well?  How can they do better in the future? 


For the second: How have government officials responded to Covid-19, specifically when it comes to keeping the public informed (or lack thereof)? What have they done poorly so far? What have they done well? How can they do better in the future?


For the third: How have foreign actors influenced our response? What can be done to combat foreign malfeasance? Has their been any positive influence? 


For the final: How have individuals done with the spread of information/disinformation (can include the role of social media here)? What have we done poorly so far? What have we done well? How can we do better in the future? 


Markus participated in the first segment via video with Val's written responses below.  I am also including the follow up questions that I asked both participants. 

Segment 1:

How has the media responded to Covid-19? What have they done poorly so far? What have they done well?  How can they do better in the future? 


Follow up questions  

1. Do you think the media should air President Trump’s press briefings? If they don’t, should they air any politicians? Additionally, how to you square saying they shouldn’t with the idea that President Trump was criticized previously for not holding briefings?  

2. Is the media giving too much information? How do we prevent an “infodemic” a term that has been used to desribe this situation meaning “an over-abundance of information – some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it. Due to the high demand for timely “? 

3. In an editorial entitled “Trump has played the media like a puppet. We are getting better--but history will not judge us kindly, “by Washington Post media columnist Margeret Sullivan, Sullivan writes, “Someday, we’ll get some perspective on how the press has contributed to this mess — just as we can now look back on the news coverage of the run-up to the Iraq War and clearly see the sins committed then by most of Big Journalism: the shameful lack of skepticism, the foolish granting of anonymity to deceptive and self-interested sources.” fbclid=IwAR0Gp9UkFof6h8nBLURt1qa4q_FiVQG5KJBnm43wpsKbjpH5A98mUK-NI-E

Do you agree with this perspective? Do you see the media’s failings here as comparative to those events in history? 

Val's Response: 


I think the biggest problem with regard to the briefings is the lack of consistency. We need information on a regular basis. I think the key is that briefings should be just that, brief and consistent. People appreciate that. Also they should be concise and informative.

The goal is to pass on vital information and should not be used for extraneous political banter.


I am overwhelmed by the news coverage, there is so much to take in but so much of it isn't news worthy. I think the news needs to be more focused and fact based and not so many opinion pieces. I also think that news outlets go overboard sensationalizing negative news, it's exhausting and repetitive.


Being a reporter is a frustrating job in this era. I get that. I think reporters have it tough. That is why they need to band together at times. If one reporter asks a relevant question and is given the brush off, maybe the next one can repeat the question until an answer is given. If the subject of the interview gives up and walks out , that will be on the person being interviewed. The truth matters.

A person that is being less than truthful needs to be challenged.

How is disinformation affecting the response to Covid-19, specifically in the United States?

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