After four years of slavishly promoting the president and White House, rightwing media will turn an abrupt about-faceWhen Joe Biden is sworn in as president on 20 January, cable news viewers may witness one of the most dramatic 180-degree turns in history.After four years of slavishly promoting the president, Fox News is expected to pump on the brakes within seconds of the inauguration ceremony.All of a sudden, the person in the White House is not a Republican. More than that, the network can no longer rely on the willingness of the president or his aides to call into Fox News any time of the day or night.The rightwing TV channel, and its big name hosts Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, will spend the next four years as the party of the opposition. The network has done this before, of course – the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency weren’t that long ago – but Biden presents a different challenge.“Of course we can expect it to be relentlessly negative, but it’s a challenge on some levels, because he’s a 78-year-old white man, fairly moderate history,” said Heather Hendershot, a professor of film and media at MIT who studies conservative and rightwing media.“In the past they attacked Hillary Clinton very hard not only because she was liberal, but obviously there was some underlying sexism and misogyny there – and obviously the fact that Barack Obama was African American was central to rightwing attacks on him, either implicitly or explicitly, including on Fox News.”That’s not to say Biden’s government will escape attack, even if he dodges the worst.Kamala Harris will be the first Black vice-president, and could become a target for Fox News’ hosts. If Democrats win the two Senate runoff elections in Georgia, the Senate will be split 50-50, and Harris will cast the deciding vote.“[If that happens] she’s going to be out there front and center as a tie-breaker in Congress over and over again,” Hendershot said.“And every time that happens that is a way to tangentially attack Biden – it gives [Fox News and other rightwing outlets] a kind of ‘red meat’ to attack Kamala Harris, because she is both a woman and a person of color.”Biden claims he has nominated “the most diverse cabinet anyone in American history has ever announced”, with Janet Yellen set to be the first woman to be secretary of the Treasury, while Lloyd Austin, if confirmed, poised to become the first Black defence secretary.Pete Buttigieg, an occasional Fox News guest, is set to be the first openly gay cabinet secretary as head of transport.Fox News has already been attacking another diverse set of Democrats: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and other female, non-white members of Congress.Matthew Gertz, senior fellow at Media Matters for America, a media watchdog, said that’s a theme that has continued to dominate, even since Biden became the president-elect.“A lot of what we’re seeing right now is less of a focus on Joe Biden himself and more of this idea that he will somehow be a puppet for other figures that they find easier to attack – whether that is Kamala Harris, or Bernie Sanders, or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” Gertz said.“That is an angle they pursued quite a bit during the campaign, and it’s something they’ve focused on during the transition as well.”Fox News has been credited with helping to fuel the growth of the Tea Party movement in 2010, which was the initial vehicle for fringe rightwingers to gain greater influence in the Republican party.The attack of the US consulate in Benghazi in 2012 became a long-running story on Fox News, even as the administration was cleared – by a Republican-controlled House committee – of any wrongdoing.“We’ve seen to some extent how this will play out. Looking back at 2009, 2010, the early years of the Obama administration featured a lot of incredibly overheated and conspiracy-minded Fox News commentary. I think that is likely to be an area that they are happy to return to,” Gertz said.“It will likely be a source for the scandalmongering that we saw during the Obama administration – basically a return to Benghazi coverage, where the network takes a news event and spends months and months and years and years poring over it, and telling their audience that the Democratic administration is the source of horrific actions.”Obviously, a switch from supporting one president to opposing the next is not unprecedented.The more liberal cable news networks will have experienced something similar when Trump was elected in 2016 – although CNN and MSNBC were never the same quasi-propaganda outfits for Obama as Fox News has been for Trump.Still, the more liberal news organizations experienced a spike in popularity, and a boost to viewing figures, after Trump won.MSNBC and CNN saw double-digit growth in viewing figures after Trump won, while the Atlantic, the New Yorker and ProPublica all saw a boost in readers. Fox News declined to comment, but a spokeswoman pointed to Nielsen ratings showing the network is consistently the most-watched cable news channel.Hendershot said Fox News could see a similar benefit to its more left-leaning rivals once it is in opposition to the White House.“Politicized media, whether magazines or opinion, smaller ones like the [left-leaning] Nation or the [conservative] National Review, or larger ones like Fox News, they tend to financially prosper the more oppositional they are,” Hendershot said.“They will have to increase their oppositionality, by virtue of the fact that Biden is president – and at the same time they can have their cake and eat it too, in that they don’t lose Trump as a story because he will continue to promote himself, inaccurately, as the real president in exile.”“So they may do very well financially and politically, because they can not only attack Biden, they can swing very hard at Kamala Harris, and they can also keep working the Trump story, trying to satisfy that base, because Trump isn’t going to go away.”
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while BC cases decrease – Nanaimo News Bulletin – Nanaimo News Bulletin
Dr. Bonnie Henry is calling it a precipice, a plateau from which the novel coronavirus could spring upwards, or decline.
New cases in B.C. have hovered around 500 per day, but on Vancouver Island, numbers have anything but plateaued.
While B.C. is showing a gradual decline in new cases, Island Health is smashing through new highs weekly. The Island took 10 months to reach 1,000 cumulative cases. Three weeks later, that total has already reached 1,458.
What’s behind the exponential increase? Vancouver Island’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Richard Stanwick isn’t sure.
But whatever the cause, the Island is seeing double digit case counts every day in January. The region has registered 25 or more new cases 11 times. Ten of those totals came in the past three weeks.
Contact tracing teams have gone all out — as of Jan. 26, the region had 753 people isolating after being identified as close contacts, and 217 people confirmed as positive. Total cases are still manageable, hospitals are not at capacity.
In fact, Vancouver Island has been able to offer support to Northern B.C., an area that is bursting at capacity for beds.
Most of the current Island cases are within the Central Island region, between the Nanaimo hospital outbreak, some school exposures, and Cowichan Tribes which has had more than 150 cases. The First Nation’s membership is sheltering in place until at least Feb. 5.
Indigenous people are four times more likely to experience the worst effects of COVID-19, Stanwick said.
“This is open to speculation as to why, whether they are under-housed, or a is there a propensity to it? The simple fact is unfortunately they are more vulnerable to the effects,” Stanwick said.
It’s one of the reasons First Nations communities are included in priority vaccinations along with long-term care and assisted living residents and workers.
“The good news is that we have finished immunizing all long-term care clients who have wished to be immunized as of [Jan. 24], and are working hard to complete all of our assisted living by mid-week,” Stanwick said.
But we’re far from out of the woods, even with positive first steps.
“It’s only the first dose they’ve gotten, and this is where I cross my fingers and my toes. It takes 14 days to get a good immune response mounted by the body. So we’re still vulnerable for two more weeks. There is a possibility we could still see outbreaks in our long-term care and assisted living facilities.”
The First Nations Health Authority has set a goal of delivering vaccinations to all First Nations on the Island by the end of March. That process is well underway.
What really worries Stanwick is the rising number of people who have no clue where they contracted the virus. It makes contact tracing nearly impossible, and makes it a lot harder to control the spread.
Take the U.K. variant for example; one Central Island resident caught it while travelling. They passed it to two others, but all three people followed quarantine rules and the strain died there.
The South African variant — which has not yet been found on the Island — is of unknown origin at this time.
“It’s when it surprises us that’s where we worry the most,” Stanwick said.
Vancouver Island’s positivity rate is another concern. Dr. Henry regularly says the goal is to keep it at 1 per cent or below, but the Island is almost at 4 per cent right now.
“We’re still looking at a few months out for wide vaccinations. We are so close, I’d hate to see us backslide into the same situation as the U.K., going into full lock down,” he said.
“The orders [Dr. Henry] puts in place have worked. They’ve gotten us where we are, we’ve just got to hang in a little longer.”
In the meantime, Stanwick said Vancouver Island Health Authority is assigning environmental health officers to identify places where standards are not being met. It’s not a hunt to issue fines, he said, but an effort to help people understand what Work Safe requirements are. However, they are issuing fines to people unwilling to comply.
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Central Island continues dominating COVID-19 case counts, active cases dip across B.C.
There is a data discrepancy between Island Health and the province, based on the timing of COVID-19 results. NanaimoNewsNOW reports local verified data from Island Health.
A joint statement released by the provincial health officer and health minister revealed 407 new COVID-19 cases across B.C.
There number of active COVID-19 cases dropped by more than 130 to 4,260 cases are considered active in the province, a drop of 132 from the day prior.
Hospitalization rates dipped slightly, while people receiving intensive care rose by three to 71.
An additional 14 people passed away due to COVID-19 for a total of 1,168 since the pandemic began.
“Our greatest source of transmission comes from when we spend time with those outside of our household, work or school bubble. That is why staying small and equally important, avoiding all unnecessary travel, is what we need to do right now,” the joint statement read.
It announced 122,359 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., of which 4,105 are second doses.
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Source: – Nanaimo News NOW
How other provinces are rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine – CTV News Winnipeg
Manitoba public health officials are expected to release a long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan Wednesday, which could include a timeline for when the general population can expect a jab.
“If you know there is a plan and you know how it’s going to roll out, it gives you a lot more confidence,” said Health Sciences ICU physician Dr. Dan Roberts.
The rollout in other provinces may provide some clues as to what Manitobans can expect.
British Columbia released its four-phase plan last week. Like Manitoba, health-care workers, long-term care residents and Indigenous people in remote and isolated communities are first priority.
Phase 2 includes people who are over 80 and weren’t immunized in the first phase, Indigenous people over 65, and vulnerable populations who lives in group settings.
Phases 3 and 4, which are expected to begin in April, include mass immunizations and is based largely on age.
Ontario has released a three-phase plan.
Phase 2 is expected to begin in March and opens the eligibility to essential workers and people with chronic health conditions. The Ontario government plans to begin vaccinating the general public in August.
The Manitoba government said it would have released a schedule soon if it wasn’t for the pause in vaccine shipments affecting the entire country.
“The delay (in the rollout) was so we had time to review and make sure nothing in our plan would be disrupted,” said Dr. Joss Reimer, Manitoba’s COVID-19 Task Force Medical Lead on Monday.
CALLS FOR MORE TRANSPARENCY
Kerry Bowman, a bioethicist at the University of Toronto, said despite the delay, the province could have provided more details.
“(Determining) what week and which month we can expect, under the conditions is very difficult. But what stands out with Manitoba is that is has defined (Phase) one and nothing beyond that,” said Bowman.
Roberts also would have liked to see more information out sooner
The Winnipeg physician has been pushing the province for more transparency on the rollout and said he had a meeting with the new minister of health and seniors care Heather Stefanson last week.
This past weekend Roberts toured the vaccine super site at the RBC Convention Centre.
“I was very relieved to hear the actual details of the plan they’re putting together and they actions they were taking.”
“At the end of the meeting they asked me for advice, I said, ‘provide some transparency.’ The medical community and the public need to hear what you’re doing to doing. They’re anxious to see this government get on a solid footing, to start over again and roll out the vaccine in a timely fashion,” he said.
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