Brazil’s Bolsonaro: Turning COVID-19 denial into media spectacle | The Listening Post (Full)

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  • On The Listening Post this week: Brazil’s President Bolsonaro and COVID-19 misinformation. Plus, how well has the WHO performed as a key information source during the pandemic?

    Brazil’s Bolsonaro: Turning COVID-19 denial into media spectacle

    A president at odds with his advisers and scientists over COVID-19, who has said the virus is no worse than the flu, and whose supporters accuse the media of hyping up the story. Not Donald Trump, but Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro.

    Even as deaths in Brazil surpass China, President Bolsonaro continues to downplay the pandemic. After firing his health minister, he went on to attend a “protest” demanding military intervention to lift the lockdown. He also has the support of two of Brazil’s biggest media players, Record TV and SBT. Whether Bolsonaro is in denial, or just playing politics, they are standing firmly by his side.

    Contributors:

    Andrew Fishman – Managing editor, The Intercept Brasil

    Gustavo Ribeiro – Founder, Brazilian Report

    Bob Fernandes – Journalist and commentator

    Leonardo Custodio, Postdoctoral researcher – Abo Akademi University

    On our radar:

    Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Meenakshi Ravi about a media storm in Pakistan, where a religious leader turned a televised coronavirus fundraiser into an attack on the broadcasters.

    Who holds WHO accountable?

    COVID-19 is the biggest news story most of us have ever seen. Of all the institutions responsible for getting information out, the World Health Organization (WHO) may be the most vital.

    The WHO is a specialised agency of the United Nations borne out of the recognition that no single country can manage a global outbreak, and that an international health body is needed to rise above the politics of national interests.

    In this pandemic, however, the WHO has been accused of falling short of its mandate and was unable to act independently in accessing and assessing the outbreak. The WHO was only granted access to Wuhan in mid-February. And not only did it fail to verify the early information on COVID-19 coming out of China, but it amplified it by repeating Chinese misinformation.

    On January 14, the WHO tweeted that there was “no proof of human-to-human transmission” of the coronavirus. But at the time, media in Hong Kong and other countries, were already comparing the virus to SARS and saying it was most likely transmitting from people to people.

    The Listening Post’s producer Nic Muirhead reports on the WHO, and how one of the most important news sources in the world may be compromised.

    Contributors:

    Lawrence Gostin – Director, O’Neill Institute, Georgetown University

    Osman Dar – Global Health Programme, Chatham House

    Stephen Buranyi – Journalist, The Guardian

    Rana Mitter – Director, China Centre, Oxford University

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    In This Story: COVID-19

    Covid-19 is the official WHO name given to the novel coronavirus which broke out in late 2019 and began to spread in the early months of 2020.

    Symptoms of coronavirus

    The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

    • a persistent new cough (non productive, dry)
    • a high temperature (e.g. head feels warm to the touch)
    • shortness of breath (if this is abnormal for the individual, or increased)

    Latest News about Covid-19

    Below are stories from around the globe related to the 2020 outbreak of novel Coronavirus – since the WHO gave the Covid-19 naming. Most recent items are posted nearest the top.

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  • In This Story: Donald Trump

    Donald John Trump is the 45th and current president of the United States. Before entering politics, he was a businessman and television personality. Trump was born and raised in Queens, a borough of New York City, and received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Wharton School.

    On Friday October 2nd 2020, Donald Trump announced he had tested positive for coronavirus – see a visual story of the coverage here.

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  • In This Story: Oxford University

    The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s second-oldest university in continuous operation.

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