Nora Loreto presents Spin Doctors: How Media and Politicians Misdiagnosed the COVID-19 Pandemic

2022 24 Feb
7:00pm - 8:30pm

Join author and activist Nora Loreto for a discussion of her new book, Spin Doctors: How Media and Politicians Misdiagnosed the COVID-19 Pandemic, with Ottawa's Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth and host Rick Harp.

As Canada was in the grips of the worst pandemic in a century, Canadian media struggled to tell the story. Newsrooms, already run on threadbare budgets, struggled to make broader connections that could allow their audience to better understand what was really happening, and why. Politicians and public health officials were mostly given the benefit of the doubt that what they said was true and that they acted in good faith.

This book documents each month of the first year of the pandemic and examines the issues that emerged, from racialized workers to residential care to policing. It demonstrates how politicians and uncritical media shaped the popular understanding of these issues and helped to justify the maintenance of a status quo that created the worst ravages of the crisis. Spin Doctors argues alternative ways in which Canadians should understand the big themes of the crisis and create the necessary knowledge to demand large-scale change.

“What Loreto describes in her book is a multi-system failure. Canadian media is in system failure. Long-term care is in system failure. Capitalism is in system failure at the expense of the working class. Industry takes advantage of the failure by refusing to increase wages on pace with inflation, by eroding worker’s rights and providing care to society’s most vulnerable as cheaply as possible. As neoliberalism is wont to do, individuals are blamed for the spiral.” - Chelsea Nash, rabble.ca

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NORA LORETO is a writer and activist from Quebec City who writes regularly for Passage, the National Observer, the Washington Post and many other online and print publications. Together with Sandy Hudson, she hosts Sandy and Nora Talk Politics, one of Canada’s most popular news and analysis podcasts. Nora has also written Take Back the Fight: Organizing Feminism for the Digital Age.

DR. NILI KAPLAN-MYRTH is a family doctor and a feminist community activist in central Ottawa with a PhD in medical anthropology. Before her medical training, she spent years working as a social scientist studying health and healing cross-culturally, sexuality, disability, Aboriginal health, women and gender studies, self-determination in health, patient-centred care and healthy policy and politics.

RICK HARP, host and producer of the weekly Indigenous current affairs podcast, MEDIA INDIGENA, has decades of broadcasting experience, including stints at the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, CBC Radio and CKCU-FM. A citizen of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation in northern Saskatchewan, he now calls Winnipeg home.