THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2020
Now they've even got Gupta: It's been a while since we visited the New York Times' reimagined page A3 (print editions only).
Today, A3's daily "Of Interest" feature lists seven "noteworthy facts" from the Times. Below, you see three of the seven entries:
NOTEWORTHY FACTS FROM TODAY'S PAPER
Roving Blazers has rereleased Princess Diana's famous black sheep sweater. Even at a cost of $295, it's available for order only and won't arrive until January at the earliestWalmart operates six stories in Vermont.
Rihanna's Fenty Beauty makeup line generated as estimated $570 million in revenue in its first 15 months.
Such is the persistent culture of this dimwitted upper-class newspaper. So much to learn about, and yet so little time!
The noteworthy facts about Diana's sweater trace to an analysis piece by fashion editor Vanessa Friedman. Online, Friedman's report appears beneath these headlines:
Why Do We Care So Much About Diana’s Dresses?
“The Crown,” Season 4, has raised the question again. The answer may not be what you expect.
"Right now, understandably, we can’t get enough of such vicarious fashion exposition, given our loungewear-limned reality," Friedman thoughtfully writes, adopting the "national we." Did we mention the fact that Diana's famous black sweater won't arrive until January at the earliest?
Such foppishness is par for the course at this Hamptons-based newspaper. What we didn't expect is what we saw on CNN last night.
Sanjay Gupta was speaking with Anderson Cooper. In our view, Gupta's reporting on the pandemic has consistently been superb.
Cable news has come up with quite a few outstanding, and outstandingly sane, public health/medical specialists. We'd put Gupta high on that list.
We think Gupta has been superb. Last night, even Gupta said this:
COOPER (11/18/20): I just want to get both your reactions tonight on this horrific milestone. A quarter of a million people in this country have died now. And the numbers are going up. Sanjay.
GUPTA: Yes, I mean that and counting, right? I mean, this is a milestone, but we blow by these milestones. And it's really sad. Anderson, it's I mean, it's really dispiriting.
I mean, no matter how you look at it, I didn't really think we would get to this number. But here we are, and so many of the deaths that we talked about were preventable. And I know those families who watch your program every night who've lost loved ones, they don't like to hear that their loved ones death was preventable. But, you know, so many of these deaths were preventable.
And if you look at the death rate in the United States, and you compare it to other countries around the world, I mean, we have the most deaths. We have the most deaths. I never imagined that the best we would be able to do in this country was to be the worst in the world. And yet, here we are.
As Gupta spoke, a graphic appeared showing the total number of deaths to date for the five "countries with most deaths." And it's true! The United States has recorded more deaths from coronavirus than any other country in the world.
The United States also has the world's third largest population. Beyond that, "deaths" and "death rate" are two different critters.
Newsflash! When it comes to our current daily/weekly "death rate," we are nowhere near the worst in the world. If you simply click this link, you'll see a graphic by Kevin Drum which illustrates this amazingly simple point.
After adjusting for population, our current daily/weekly death rate is dwarfed by those of Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, France, Portugal, Austria, the United Kingdom and Spain, among others. And Drum is merely comparing our current daily/weekly death rate to those of countries in Europe.
All of us are living inside a highly illiterate culture. Gupta's highly familiar remark, delivered from the top of the mainstream press corps, displayed a type of statistical illiteracy which is stunningly widespread.
There are certain kinds of financial comparisons which make no sense unless you adjust for inflation. Similarly, there are certain kinds of transnational comparisons which make no sense unless you adjust for the size of various countries' populations.
In the current circumstance, the children love to announce that we're the worst in the world. Even Our Own Rhodes Scholar persistently, dumbly does this.
We're silly and stupid and nobody likes us. Also, Princess Diana's famous sweater won't arrive till next year!