Many of us are spending hours a day consuming coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. What’s the current death rate in my state? What’s the latest extension of stay-at-home orders? What’s the latest recommendation on whether I should wear a mask to go to the grocery store?
But exposure to this level of coverage can lead to serious consequences. How? It activates the fight-or-flight stress response, leading to physiological arousal, and, over time, serious wear-and-tear on virtually all body systems. People who watched several hours of coverage in the days following the 9/11 attack were more likely to develop physical health problems two to three years later than those with less exposure. Not surprisingly, this stress response – and resulting problems – increases with more exposure. People who watched lots of media coverage of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings – defined as six or more hours a day – were nine times more likely to report experiencing high stress than those who watched fewer than one hour a day. These findings demonstrate that cataclysmic events – and the current pandemic certainly counts – may lead to stress even among people who aren’t directly affected.
Spending time on social media can also lead us to compare what we see of other people’s lives to our own lives, and that can make us feel worse. But we often fail to remember that these images are what people s choose to present, and may well not be an accurate portrayal of their actual lives. As economist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz points out, people spend six times as much time washing dishes as they do golfing, yet there are roughly twice as many tweets about golfing as there are about doing the dishes. Similarly, although the budget Las Vegas hotel Circus Circus and the luxury hotel Bellagio have an approximately equal number of rooms, people report checking into the Bellagio hotel on Facebook about three times as often.
This same dichotomy may be seen during this pandemic, in which some people consistently post glowing reports of how well they are doing: cooking nutritious homemade meals, playing board games with their families, reorganizing the linen closet, and reading the latest best seller. They may not choose to post about the times they spent hours watching mindless sitcoms, or eating tremendous amounts of chips and salsa, or washing their sheets and comforter after the dog peed on the bed (all true examples of things that occurred in my life over the last week).
But it’s important to remember that social media can also do tremendous good during these unprecedented times. First, we all need connections during this time – and spending time on social media can help us feel closer to family and friends we can’t see in person these days. Over the last few weeks, I’ve enjoyed seeing my husband and brother share photos of their attempts at cutting their own hair, learning how my colleagues are managing the challenges of on-line teaching, and even connecting with my own former students on Instagram. These opportunities to share help us feel less isolated and alone.
Second, social media can help us find connections to others who share the distinct challenges some people are facing these days, whether that’s trying to stay sober while home alone all day or coping with the death of a loved one. This type of support is especially important for those who are trying to cope with serious trauma.
Researchers in one study assessed how survivors responded to the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech, in which thirty-three people died. Although some students, as expected, showed higher levels of depression and anxiety over the next year, others didn’t show a big change in their overall mood state, for better or for worse. But the most remarkable finding was that some students actually felt better in the year after experiencing this tragedy. In fact, students who sought out social support from and developed stronger connections with other students showed decreases in anxiety and depression. Thus, even in the case of truly devastating events, people who make connections with others experience substantial benefits.
Edited by Harry Miller
This Minnesota journalist says there's something important the media is missing about protests – CNN
Katai Leaves Galaxy After Wife’s Racial Social Media Posts… – Mount Royal Soccer
You would hope that the Katai’s weren’t looking forward to an extended stay on America’s west coast.
If they were it’s all been scuppered by some strongly-worded Instagram posts from the player’s wife, Tea in which she called for people to kill protestors, which she referred to as ‘disgusting cattle’.
Now the former Alaves and Red Star Belgrade midfielder and his club have parted ways.
The Galaxy released a statement condemning Tea’s since-deleted comments on Wednesday saying…
“Earlier today, the LA Galaxy were made aware of a series of racist and violent social media posts by Tea Katai, the wife of LA Galaxy midfielder Aleksandar Katai.
“The LA Galaxy stands firmly against racism of any kind, including that which suggests violence or seeks to demean the efforts of those in pursuit of racial equality.”
The player for his part had come out strongly following the comments, distancing himself from his spouse’s posts, although accepting full responsibility.
“These views are not ones that I share and are not tolerated in my family.
“Racism, particularly toward the black community, is not only prevalent in the United States and Europe, but across the globe. I strongly condemn white supremacy, racism and violence towards people of color. Black lives matter. This is a mistake from my family and I take full responsibility.
“I will ensure that my family and I take the necessary actions to learn, understand, listen and support the black community.
“I understand that it will take time to earn back the support of the people of Los Angeles. I am committed to putting in the necessary work to learn from these mistakes and be a better ally and advocate for equality going forward. I am sorry for the pain these posts have caused the LA Galaxy family and all allies in the fight against racism.”
It was not enough to save his LA Galaxy career with the club yesterday producing a terse and final statement confirming Katai’s departure…
“The LA Galaxy have mutually agreed to part with midfielder Aleksander Katai.”
While Tea Katai’s comments are totally and unequivocally unacceptable, you wonder if the player himself has been treated fairly by the club. He did clearly distance himself from the comments, explaining they were not representative of his own views, and in fact verbally came out in support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.
Is it right that a player’s future at a football club can be determined in this way by comments, no matter how disgusting, made by another family member, which in the days of social media he had very little, if any, control over?
Katai has ‘accepted full responsibility’, but it must be acknowledged that was part of a carefully worded statement providing apology and certainly designed to prolong his short LA career.
Or is it correct that the former Chicago Fire player is ‘found guilty by association’ and was rightly dismissed?
What do Impact fans think? Would you have expected Montreal Impact to fire a player under the same circumstances?
Are the LA Galaxy right in dispensing with the services for Aleksander Katai due to his wife’s unacceptable Instagram posts?
Yes 100%. He has to go…
Not sure. It’s a grey area. I’m on the fence and think getting rid of the player is too harsh a punishment.
100% No. Katai should not be held accountable for the social media interactions of his wife or any other family member.
7 votes total
GOLDSTEIN: Media deliberately distorted what Trump said about George Floyd – Toronto Sun
Contrary to a globally reported blunder by the media on Friday, President Donald Trump did not say a positive report on U.S. job numbers was “good news for George Floyd.”
Here’s what Trump said:
“Equal justice under the law must mean that every American receives equal treatment in every encounter with law enforcement regardless of race, color, gender, or creed. They have to receive fair treatment from law enforcement. They have to receive it. We all saw what happened last week. We can’t let that happen.
“Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying, ‘This is a great thing that’s happening for our country.’ It’s a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody. This is a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality. It’s really what our Constitution requires and it’s what our country is all about.”
Clearly, Trump’s reference to Floyd was in the context of Americans agreeing everyone must be treated equally by police, not optimistic U.S. job numbers.
Despite their obvious blunder about what Trump said, which quickly went global and erupted on social media, few media organizations have corrected it.
Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden, reacting to the inaccurate media reports, said what Trump said was “despicable.”
Some are now arguing it was outrageous for Trump to invoke Floyd’s name — he died in police custody, with the four fired police officers involved now facing a slew of major criminal charges — in any context.
But that deliberately ignores the point, which is that the media got the story wrong.
In another controversy involving Trump, a widely-circulated medical study published in the Lancet claiming patients with COVID-19 were more likely to die or suffer serious side effects from taking hydroxychloroquine has been retracted.
Based on this research, Trump was widely attacked for recommending the use of hydroxychloroquine and saying he was taking it himself to ward off COVID-19.
Trump should not be freelancing medical advice and it was dangerous for him to do so.
But as James Heathers, a research scientist at Boston’s Northeastern University, writing in the Guardian, observed, the retraction of the research paper is also alarming and potentially dangerous.
As Heathers wrote:
“The Lancet is one of the oldest and most respected medical journals in the world. Recently, they published an article on Covid patients receiving hydroxychloroquine with a dire conclusion: the drug increases heartbeat irregularities and decreases hospital survival rates. This result was treated as authoritative, and major drug trials were immediately halted — because why treat anyone with an unsafe drug?
“Now, that Lancet study has been retracted, withdrawn from the literature entirely, at the request of three of its authors who ‘can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources.’
“Given the seriousness of the topic and the consequences of the paper, this is one of the most consequential retractions in modern history.
“How did a paper of such consequence get discarded like a used tissue by some of its authors only days after publication? If the authors don’t trust it now, how did it get published in the first place?”
Heathers says the root problem is with the peer review process which, “at its worst … is merely window dressing that gives the unwarranted appearance of authority, a cursory process which confers no real value, enforces orthodoxy, and overlooks both obvious analytical problems and outright fraud entirely.”
Conor McGregor retires (again) via Twitter moments after UFC 250 – MMA Fighting
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