Outside Reading — Missed Shots edition

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What to Do With Our Covid Rage by Sarah Smarsh

Sarah Smarsh has been one of the more astute writers about culture clashes in the Midwest, especially among low-income citizens who feel left behind and whose anxiety change is ruthlessly exploited by certain national figures. Writing for The New York Times, Smarsh addresses the anger that’s all too easy to direct against the communities where red baseball cap sales saw a significant spike around five years ago, attributable these days to the politicized refusal to get the vaccination that’s essentially to ending the pandemic that had hobbled the entire globe for the last year and a half. It’s an exceptional piece that validates the frustration while simultaneously contextualizing the manipulated worries — and sometimes genuine hardship —  of those those haven’t taken advantage of the enormous privilege of living in a nation better equipped to implement life-saving public health measures than most.

JOURNALISM JARGON IS OBFUSCATING THE FACTS by Allison Hantschel

The news media is a a major contributor to the ill-informed decisions being made across the nation. Specifically, the both-sides compulsion that prompts news network pontificators and reporters to give reasoned attention to viewpoints that wouldn’t have been given the light of a studio bulb a couple generations ago. Far too many column inches and broadcast minutes have been turned over to the willfully ignorant to thunder against vaccines and mitigation efforts. It’s all perhaps meant to expose problematic thinking as problematic. Instead, the practice legitimizes crackpot ideas and bad decisions. That’s social norming theory at its most fundamental. With appropriate scorn, Allison Hantshel writes about it for Dame magazine.

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