It was the Best of Times. It was the Worst of Times.

Danny Quah
2 min readMar 17, 2020

In response to COVID-19, one nation locked down and was described as inflicting “great cost to people’s livelihoods and personal liberties”; another nation locked down and was said to be (valiantly) “risking its economy in an effort to contain Europe’s worst coronavirus outbreak”.

https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1236479276586807296
https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1236484352965521408
  1. Which news platforms reported these? (Look again, I’ll wait.)
  2. What’s the lesson here, what do you reckon these nations did different?
  3. What do you think the news platform here sought to achieve with these accounts?

(I’m a big admirer of many things about the New York Times, not least the fearless way they have consistently stood up to and called out President Trump. But this is reprehensible.)

Horowitz, Jason. 2020. “Italy Locks Down Much of the Country’s North Over the Coronavirus”, New York Times (07 Mar) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/07/world/europe/coronavirus-italy.html https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1236484352965521408

Qin, Amy. 2020. “China May Be Beating the Coronavirus, at a Painful Cost”, New York Times (07 Mar) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/07/world/asia/china-coronavirus-cost.html https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1236479276586807296

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Danny Quah

Danny Quah is Dean and Li Ka Shing Professor in Economics at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS.