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Despite disinformation, there is ample evidence that the truth still matters

Despite disinformation, there is ample evidence that the truth still matters

A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.



a clock that is on display: U.S. President Donald Trump removes a protective mask ahead of speaking from the Truman Balcony of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. Trump, making his first public appearance since returning from a three-day hospitalization for Covid-19, is setting the stage for a return to the campaign trail even as questions remain about whether hes still contagious. Photographer: Erin Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images


© Erin Scott/Bloomberg/Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump removes a protective mask ahead of speaking from the Truman Balcony of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. Trump, making his first public appearance since returning from a three-day hospitalization for Covid-19, is setting the stage for a return to the campaign trail even as questions remain about whether hes still contagious. Photographer: Erin Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The news these days is relentlessly grim. The President of the United States is being likened to a super-spreader — of the coronavirus, of disinformation, of dangerously bogus claims about the election. The social media universe is a giant sewer. Covid-19 is on the rise in the US, elsewhere in the Americas, and in Europe. The economic picture is beyond bleak. Experts say the estimated cost of the pandemic in the US is more than $16 trillion. The election is an overwhelming source of tension. Joe Biden supporters are scared. President Trump supporters are worried. Everyone’s worried.

Every night, after I send out this newsletter, my inbox is full of stressed-out readers. My reply: You are not alone! Everyone seems to be “doom scrolling” through the day. There is no shortage of news to be troubled about. As Elahe Izadi wrote the other day, “each new development is more unbelievable than the last.” And yet, let me offer a more optimistic take…

“Team Reality is a lot bigger than it seems.”

That’s what Monika Bauerlein, the CEO of Mother Jones, wrote in a column last week. “I’ve heard from you how hard and lonely and terrifying it can sometimes be, especially when the news grows more chaotic

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The truth about Pence’s V-shaped economic recovery debate boast

The truth about Pence’s V-shaped economic recovery debate boast



Mike Pence wearing a suit and tie: Mike Pence arches an eyebrow at the vice presidential debate.


© Provided by Quartz
Mike Pence arches an eyebrow at the vice presidential debate.

US vice president Mike Pence sought to sidestep senator Kamala Harris’s criticisms of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic by shifting the focus of Wednesday’s vice-presidential debate to the economy.

“The American comeback is on the ballot,” he said. “President Trump and I will keep America growing. The V-shaped recovery that’s underway right now will continue with four more years of president Donald Trump.”

That V-shaped recovery, however, is in danger of collapsing even before the next US president begins his term on Jan. 20, 2021. Data from recruiting sites Glassdoor and Indeed showed hiring weakening in September, with job postings falling 0.3% after monthly gains between 5% and 7% during the summer. The economy gained just 661,000 jobs last month, notching the smallest gains since May, and the portion of the working-age population employed or looking for a job dropped after a slight uptick in August.

National coronavirus cases, meanwhile, have picked up since their post-peak lows in early September, which could lead to another round of business closures, and deeper losses to the economy.

A day before the debate, US federal reserve chairman Jerome Powell warned that without further stimulus the nascent recovery could flatline. The first round of federal aid was key to jumpstarting the economy, he pointed out, and a second installment could head off a worst-case scenario in which a stuttering recovery, combined with the effects of the pandemic, could create a vicious cycle.

“There is a risk that the rapid initial gains from reopening may transition to a longer than expected slog back to full recovery as some segments struggle with the pandemic’s continued fallout,” he said.

But shortly after Trump’s return to the White House after

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