The Atlantic Daily: Pitying America

The country is slipping, and the world is watching.

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America is faltering. The coronavirus outbreak and the death of George Floyd proved to be revelatory events, exposing its rotted and racist systems.

What do the country’s recent stumbles look like from abroad? Two reporters in our London bureau offer some perspective:

The world is watching America’s humiliation.

Tom McTague, who spoke to more than a dozen European officials and policy experts for this piece, writes: “As citizens of the world the United States created, we are accustomed to listening to those who loathe America, admire America, and fear America (sometimes all at the same time). But feeling pity for America? That one is new, even if the schadenfreude is painfully myopic.”

Being a Washington correspondent wasn’t considered particularly risky. That’s no longer true.

“For foreign media, who have been among those assaulted, targeted with rubber bullets and tear gas, and arrested, the government’s response to the protests—upwards of 400 media-freedoms violations have been reported since the demonstrations began—is shifting perceptions of what it means to be a journalist in America,” Yasmeen Serhan reports.


One question, answered: Can the coronavirus be spread via air-conditioning systems in places such as hotels?

James Hamblin answers in his latest “Paging Dr. Hamblin” column:

There’s currently no clear evidence of this virus spreading from room to room through air-conditioning, as you’re curious about, Peter. … But the presumption is that it could, and buildings should take precautions to prevent that possibility.

Read the rest of his advice. Every Wednesday, Jim takes questions from readers about health-related curiosities, concerns, and obsessions. Have one? Email him at

What to read if … you want practical advice:

What to read if … you wish Jon Stewart was still on the air to help you process 2020:

Jon talked with our critic David Sims about his new satirical film, Irresistible, and how the media landscape has changed since he left The Daily Show in 2015.

This email was written by Caroline Mimbs Nyce, with help from Isabel Fattal and Haley Weiss. It was edited by Shan Wang. Sign yourself up for The Daily here.