Media Beat: March 16, 2020

What Was Said

Media Beat: March 16, 2020

By David Farrell

What Was Said

I’m a doctor and an Infectious Diseases Specialist. I’ve been at this for more than 20 years seeing sick patients on a daily basis. I have worked in inner-city hospitals and in the poorest slums of Africa. HIV-AIDS, Hepatitis, TB, SARS, Measles, Shingles, Whooping cough, Diphtheria…there is little I haven’t been exposed to in my profession. And with notable exception of SARS, very little has left me feeling vulnerable, overwhelmed or downright scared.

I am not scared of Covid-19. I am concerned about the implications of a novel infectious agent that has spread the world over and continues to find new footholds in different soil. I am rightly concerned for the welfare of those who are elderly, in frail health or disenfranchised who stand to suffer most, and disproportionately, at the hands of this new scourge. But I am not scared of Covid-19.


What I am scared about is the loss of reason and wave of fear that has induced the masses of society into a spellbinding spiral of panic, stockpiling obscene quantities of anything that could fill a bomb shelter adequately in a post-apocalyptic world. I am scared of the N95 masks that are stolen from hospitals and urgent care clinics where they are actually needed for front line healthcare providers and instead are being donned in airports, malls, and coffee lounges, perpetuating even more fear and suspicion of others. I am scared that our hospitals will be overwhelmed with anyone who thinks they ” probably don’t have it but may as well get checked out no matter what because you just never know…” and those with heart failure, emphysema, pneumonia and strokes will pay the price for overfilled ER waiting rooms with only so many doctors and nurses to assess.

I am scared that travel restrictions will become so far-reaching that weddings will be canceled, graduations missed and family reunions will not materialize. And well, even that big party called the Olympic Games…that could be kiboshed too. Can you even imagine?


I’m scared those same epidemic fears will limit trade, harm partnerships in multiple sectors, business and otherwise and ultimately culminate in a global recession.

But mostly, I’m scared about what message we are telling our kids when faced with a threat. Instead of reason, rationality, open-mindedness and altruism, we are telling them to panic, be fearful, suspicious, reactionary and self-interested.–Read Infectious disease specialist Dr. Abdhu Sharkawy’s editorial in full here.

Telecom companies temporarily remove internet data caps amid COVID-19

Rogers Communications Inc., Telus Corp. and Videotron say they are temporarily removing overage fees on internet plans amid an outbreak of the novel coronavirus. ­– CP

CBC/Radio-Canada, TV distributors make 24-hour news channels widely available

CBC News Network is now available to all subscribers on Bell TV, Shaw, Cogeco and Eastlink.

As of Monday, Rogers and TELUS Optik TV will be making News Network available to all their TV subscribers. ­– CBC News

Evan Solomon exclusive: PM on Question Period Sunday a.m.

Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world March 15

CBC News

Why Dave Hodge was cut from the Hockey Night in Canada team

Commentator couldn't hide frustration with the 1987 CBC decision to leave sports in progress — twice. — CBC News archives

BBC chief says TV streaming services ‘squeeze out British culture’

Streaming services like Netflix cannot be relied upon to keep investing in British programming, the BBC’s director-general has said, in a stark warning about the consequences of scaling down the corporation. – Michael Savage, The Observer


Why is Sony Music investing so much in podcasts?

Like Spotify, Sony Music Entertainment no longer wants to be known just as a music company. – Water & Music, Patreon

Radio in the time of pandemic

There is already a disruption of listening patterns taking place, particularly for any listeners who qualified for radio’s “92%-of-all-adults listen weekly” stat, but only by dint of in-car listening during a commute. Many will now be working from their homes — 32% of which do not currently have an AM/FM radio.


There is the need for information and companionship that radio provides in a crisis. And here is what will matter — what already matters — going forward. ­­– Sean Ross, Ross on Radio

When Facebook is more trustworthy than the President

Social media companies are delivering reliable information in the coronavirus crisis. Why can’t they do that all the time? — Ben Smith, NYT

Can political reports handle the Covid-19 disinformation machine?

A coronavirus pandemic would test the resilience of a number of institutions: hospitals, transit systems, global supply chains. We can add the mainstream media to that list. Objective news reporting is built on two bedrock principles: report the truth, and don’t pick sides. Trump’s unprecedented commitment to saying what is plainly untrue makes it hard to honor both principles at once. — Gilad Edelman, Wired

Networks navigate ad sales fallout of sports cancellations

March Madness, NBA and MLB losses leave networks scrambling – Jason Lynch, AdWeek

Trump: media 'scare' coverage of coronavirus response OK 'as long as we can win the election'

“They’re trying to scare everybody, from meetings, cancel the meetings, close the schools — you know, destroy the country. And that’s okay, as long as we can win the election. But I really believe that if they see that the Trump administration is handling this virus in a professional, competent way, I don’t believe that’s going to hurt us.” — Dan Chaitin, Washington Examiner

International box office craters as movie theaters in major markets remain closed

Given the rapid spread of coronavirus, the global box office remains in uncharted waters. Last week, most major studio movies that were supposed to debut over the next two months — including Disney’s “Mulan,” Paramount’s “A Quiet Place Part II,” Universal’s “Fast 9” and MGM’s “No Time to Die” — were pulled from release. – Rebecca Rubin, Variety

What really has Wall St. scared

As the stock markets struggle—so far without much success—to recover from an astoundingly quick rout that has lopped off nearly 30% from the Dow Jones Industrial Average in a month’s time (you may recall that the all-time high on the Dow, 29,551, was February 12), the action on Wall Street is moving quickly to the credit markets, and that’s when things can begin to get really scary. – William D. Cohan, Vanity Fair


Françoise Hardy
Joost Evers / Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Françoise Hardy


Obituaries: French Pop Icon Françoise Hardy, 'Suspicious Minds' Songwriter Mark James

This week we also acknowledge the passing of broadcaster/musician Jeremy Tepper, Tejano music TV host Johnny Canales and Scottish rocker Davie Duncan.

Françoise Hardy, a French pop singer, actress, author and model, died on June 11, at age 80 after a long battle with lymphatic cancer.

A Billboard obituary terms Hardy "one of the leading lights of the French yé-yé pop movement, and an inspiration to Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger.

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