Outside Reading — The Wrong Questions edition

Ten Questions the Press Should Have Asked President Biden by Zeynep Tufekci

It’s easy to pinpoint — and become enraged by — the failure of the White House press corps during the four years they utterly failed to properly confront the pathological lying of a bigoted nitwit and lifelong criminal who was given control of the nation’s highest office despite earning millions fewer votes than his main rival. It’s a more slippery, and yet arguably more vital task, to hold the press accountable for commensurate ineptitude with an administration that is already a much-needed stabilizing force. During President Joe Biden’s press conference this week, not a single member of the press asked a question about COVID-19, which is still, far and away, the most pressing matter facing the country’s citizen’s and governmental leadership. Someone was sure, however, to dig into his plans for the 2024 campaign. It was a dismal display, emblematic of everything currently wrong with political news coverage that values conflict and horserace shifts over meaningful understanding of policy. Writing for her own Substack platform, Zeynep Tufekci, who’s been peerless in writing about COVID-19 and associated matters from the very beginning of this pandemic, presents a list of questions that should have been asked by the reporters at the press conference.


What the ‘Invisible’ People Cleaning the Subway Want Riders to Know by Annie Correal

One year into a process of forced reinvention, Annie Correal reports of the poor treatment given to the contracted workers brought in to clean the New York City subway system. It’s a specific story that parallels countless others across a nation and a purposefully warped capitalism that strategically undervalues the people doing the hardest, most unpleasant work. The M.T.A. could hire staff to do the job, paying them well and treating them fairly. Instead, they outsource the work so they can have plausible deniability for the exploitation of people desperate for paychecks in a dire economic time. That’s not a tactic unique to that organization or to this moment. It’s been the prevailing model for decades, and it’s caused incalculable harm. This article is published by The New York Times.

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