Originally published on July 12, 2020

Before Covid-19 took the spotlight on the international stage (as measured by volume of news coverage), climate change, climate impacts, and climate-related protests garnered heavy discussion. How has the pandemic impacted debates over our approach to the environment and climate issues?

We reviewed dozens of the highest-credibility articles on climate issues from 28 outlets across the political spectrum to see how Covid-19 has impacted the environment, how perceptions of those impacts have shifted months later, and whether the pandemic will lead to long-term changes in human environmental behavior and the way we think about…


Originally published on August 12, 2020

A new Gallup/Knight Foundation poll shows that 73% of Americans think that bias in media coverage is a major problem. Indeed, a Bloomberg Opinion piece in early July lamented that California just wasn’t being criticized in the media the same way that Republican-run states such as Florida, Texas, and Arizona were. Though such a sentiment closely follows American’s expectations of the media, data suggests it isn’t actually true — at least not when it comes to media’s coverage of Covid-19 across different states.

The article highlighted specific pieces from left-leaning news outlets that make…


Originally published September 1, 2020

Though you may have experienced shortages or delays in mail recently, you’ve probably also seen more articles about the mail than you know what to do with. From Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s recent hearings, to long-running worries about USPS funding, to delayed delivery of mailed goods, to worries about the upcoming election, there’s been no shortage of coverage about one of the country’s most beloved and undercounted government agencies. …


Originally published on September 17, 2020

The recent HBO miniseries Chernobyl captured a key moment in which human protagonists are confronted by the scale of a disaster. During this unprecedented man-made incident in 1986, nuclear scientists at a damaged nuclear reactor struggled to assess the danger from radiation, especially because the geiger counters on hand — devices meant to measure levels of radiation — didn’t go high enough to measure the amount of radiation leaking into the environment. The radiation essentially exceeded what the scientists had tools on hand to measure.

This week, the fires across the West Coast highlighted…


Originally published March 31, 2020

As the number of COVID-19 cases soars over 38,000 in New York City, the rate of infection stands in stark contrast to several other large cities such as Tokyo and Hong Kong which have thus far avoided a dramatic escalation in cases. Tokyo, a city of 9 million people, has recently seen an uptick in new cases but still has fewer than 500. Hong Kong, a city of 7 million, has just over 600 cases.

While these numbers are surely understated (as is anticipated in the U.S.), and though Japan may be facing a renewed…


Originally published June 8, 2020

Since the killing of George Floyd on May 25 by police in Minneapolis, the country has erupted in waves of protest and police action. News coverage has followed every step, but where you get your news likely has an impact on how you interpret events. Even the subtlest of word choices by journalists can be the difference between a protest and a riot, tear gas and smoke canisters, and a murder or a death. …


Originally published January 12, 2021

We are experiencing some of the deadliest days in American history, but the magnitude of the ongoing disaster defies human comprehension. As the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths climbed during 2020 and reached new heights in 2021, search volumes for Covid-related terms, specifically “cases” and “deaths,” have not followed suit. One might think that concern about the pandemic, measured through these metrics, would closely follow the severity of the disease. Instead, we are seeing just the opposite: people’s interest has, if anything, declined as the disease has intensified. …


Originally published January 24, 2020

The words media outlets use to describe events play a large role in shaping public perception of those events. As January 6 unfolded on Capitol Hill, there was a rapid shift in language, from “protesters,” “ supporters,” and “rally” to “siege,” “rioters,” and “insurrection.” These choices — on the day of the attack and in its aftermath — matched the descent of a seemingly peaceful protest into a violent and dangerous attack on the seat of the U.S. federal government.

Using 5,057 article titles about the Capitol Riot from 398 sources across the political spectrum…


Originally published December 7, 2020

Soon after President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, U.S. foreign policy will steer toward more familiar waters. While President Trump’s approach to the international system has been unconventional, isolating, abrasive, and at times counterproductive, it also bore some fruit, for example, by confronting China or by impressing upon allies the need for more equal partnerships. Yet Trump’s foreign policy stood out against near-term predecessors in its distrust of the international, rules-based order and its belief that the U.S. could secure policy goals alone, without full engagement with the multilateral politics that have defined global…


Originally published December 19, 2020

China has received abundant ridicule for its role in Covid-19, from its early negligence, to its influence over the World Health Organization, to its draconian measures to control the virus. Part of the negative perception in the West was an assumption that reporting on Covid cases and deaths within China was not to be trusted — just as the Chinese political system had failed to acknowledge the emergence of the virus, surely the government would use its extensive societal control to downplay the disease’s impacts within China.

Months later, however, the evidence suggests that China…

Phillip Meylan

I'm an adjunct fellow at CSIS, a political analyst and writer for The Factual, and an aspiring author interested in subnational authoritarianism.

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