The Atlantic Daily: Misinformation Poisoning the World’s Largest Election
Is Beto O'Rourke for real? Plus: What Nipsey Hussle leaves behind, the legacy of the studio that brought you everything from All About Eve to Avatar, and more
What We’re Following
As India gears up for the world’s largest election, it faces an epidemic of misinformation and fake news. But unlike in the 2016 United States election, when prominent pieces of political propaganda were cooked up by foreigners, in India, the fake news comes from within. India’s political parties are tapping into Facebook and WhatsApp, the country’s two most popular social-media platforms, to spread rumors about opponents and spur ethnic divisions: For example, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party, the BJP, has built a sprawling digital empire that churns out fearmongering propaganda about how its archrival favors Muslims over Hindus. But social media are only part of the problem—these partisan news networks are also fomenting disinformation.
Beto O’Rourke is trying to be President Donald Trump’s foil—especially as the administration cuts off aid to three Central American countries and threatens to shut down the U.S.-Mexico border. O’Rourke officially kicked off his 2020 campaign on Saturday with a series of rallies in Texas, but so far his record-breaking fundraising haul hasn’t quite translated to crowds on the campaign trial: By one estimate, about 1,000 to 2,000 people attended his first rally in El Paso (his campaign claims higher). But by focusing on immigration, O’Rourke may be distinguishing himself from the field, Peter Beinart argues.
The rapper Nipsey Hussle’s shocking death underscores how committed he was to his Los Angeles community. (Hussle was shot and killed in L.A. over the weekend in a murder that police suspect is gang-related.) Even as hip-hop has ballooned into an art form with global reach and international superstars, it hasn’t lost its highly local sensibility—and few rappers better epitomized that than Hussle. Crenshaw, the L.A. neighborhood he called home, played an outsize role in Hussle’s songs, and he worked to improve it both through his music and outside of it. The cruel irony of Hussle’s murder is that he was the victim of the type of urban violence he had long tried to remedy: The day after his death, he was scheduled to participate in an LAPD anti-street-violence meeting.
(A scene from Alien / 20th Century Fox)
The film studio 20th Century Fox, itself a merger between two competing companies that merged in 1935, has been acquired by the industry giant Disney. The future of Fox—known for hits from The Sound of Music to Alien to Avatar—is now unknown. David Sims explores 10 of Fox’s most influential films, including one that won the first and only Oscar for Best Unique and Artistic Picture.
Our Planet, Netflix’s answer to the renowned BBC series Planet Earth, is similarly high in production value, narrated by David Attenborough, and replete with scenes of nature both intimate and vast. But it strikes a new tone, in addition to awe, Ed Yong writes:
If you muted the series, it would look almost identical to any other wildlife documentary. You could sit back, content and relaxed, gawping at nature’s splendor. But Our Planet seems to have no interest in letting you be contented. Though the film is still entertaining and beautiful, its narration imparts its shots with a more complex emotional flavor. It’s like watching an American drug ad during which a voice-over reads out lists of horrific side effects over footage of frolicking, picnicking families.
Frankly, it’s about time.
The BBC’s natural-history series have been a gift, enchanting tens of millions of viewers with nature’s wonders. But the shows have also been criticized for whitewashing the decline of the creatures they feature.
Every Monday, Lori Gottlieb answers questions from readers about their problems, big and small. This week, someone whose boyfriend didn’t reveal he was married for the first three months they’d been dating:
Two years later, we are still together but it’s been an incredibly exhausting struggle to get him to take the steps necessary for the divorce. He would promise to do a specific task at a certain time but then continuously forget to do it. We also fought a lot about how much his wife should be part of our lives: I didn’t want her to continue to contact him about random casual things given that they were separated and childless, but he felt I was too harsh and refused to budge for many months. Eventually he agreed to keep her away after I got a therapist to help us. In the meantime, we were otherwise incredibly happy and in love with each other and set up a lot of important building blocks for our future together.
→ Read the rest, and Lori’s response.
Programming note: Lori will be in conversation with NPR’s Scott Simon at Sixth & I in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, April 4 at 7:00 pm. Tickets are available here.
Beginning next week, Dear Therapist will be on hiatus until April 29. You may continue to send Lori your questions at email@example.com.
The Atlantic Crossword
Have you tried your hand at our daily mini crossword (available on our website, here)? Monday is the perfect day to start—the puzzle gets bigger and more difficult throughout the week.
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