With Coronavirus or Covid-19 different governments and parts of the world have had different degrees of success in handling the spread and containing the virus but not parts of the Anglo world namely the US, UK and Australia.
All three have experienced aggressive neo-liberalism or radical right libertarian ideology applied to government agencies, budgets, planning and potential responses; now it’s right wing media attacking critics and creating confusion, or inappropriate responses.
The following article in The Week US highlights and blames both the Trump administration and conservatism including mainstream media outlets. However, it could also be blamed upon long term pressure on taxes, budgets, investment, government services and government being fit for purpose in ‘black swan’ events; from The Week:
Why does the United States have the worst coronavirus outbreak in the developed world?
Part of the answer is surely that our basic state functions have been allowed to rot, or been deliberately destroyed, over the years. State capacity and competence have been shown around the world to be a key factor in whether nations can get a handle on the pandemic.
But another reason is conservative media. A small but nevertheless very loud and angry minority of Americans have had their ability to reason dissolved in a corrosive bath of crack-brained propaganda.
The flood tide of conservative lunacy is so overwhelming that it can be hard to process or even notice. A dozen things that would be a major scandal in any other rich country, or the U.S. itself in previous ages, fly by practically every day……
….Most of those other factors, however, would also be true in other rich countries. While there are fringe websites and various conspiracy loons in all of them, none have this problem to nearly the same degree, much less a full-blown crackpot as the leader of the country.
Our ultra-consolidated media industry, which gives enormous sway to a handful of right-wing media barons like Rupert Murdoch and Christopher Ripley, probably enables it. The structure of behemoth social media companies, which have little incentive to police dangerous misinformation, and are so large that they probably couldn’t do it well even if they tried, probably enables it further.
Whatever the reason, the conservative propaganda machine is going to make this country very difficult to govern so long as it continues to operate in its current fashion. Just as economic markets do not work when they are under the thumb of monopolist robber barons, perhaps it is time to bring some regulation back to the marketplace of ideas.
Nations like Australia have even more consolidated media dominated by Murdoch and NewsCorp, small coterie of corporate players have undue influence, and conservative libertarian ideology, including cuts to taxes, health and education, is aggressively promoted by Koch linked think tanks through the same media and directly to politicians.
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