Emily Maitlis held no punches in tearing down the euphemistic language around this pandemic's impact on the disadvantaged versus the privileged few.
April 10, 2020

Credit where it is due. The BBC put U.S. media to shame with an opening to Newsnight's broadcast filled with fact, straight talk, and zero spin. Emily Maitlis gave a master class in concise dressing down of dressing up the effects of COVID-19's impact being "the great equalizer" among the rich and poor. In the U.S. the media just now seems to be discovering (SHOCKER) that the darker your skin, the worse the impact of this pandemic. Maitlis didn't speak to this, exactly, but her version was good.

MAITLIS: The language around COVID-19 has sometimes felt trite and misleading. You do not survive the illness through fortitude and strength of character, whatever the prime minister's colleagues will tell us. And the disease is not a great leveler, the consequences of which everyone, rich or poor, suffers the same. This is a myth which needs debunking.

Those of whom I'm thinking right now, bus drivers and shelf-stackers, nurses, care home workers, hospital staff, and shopkeepers are disproportionately the lower-paid members of our workforce. They are more likely to catch the disease because they are more exposed. Those who live in tower blocks and small flats all found the lockdown tougher. Those in manual jobs will be unable to work from home.

This is a health issue with huge ramifications for social welfare, and it's a welfare issue with huge ramifications for public health. Tonight as France goes into recession, and the World Trade Organization warns the pandemic could provoke the deepest economic downturn of our lifetimes, we ask what kind of social settlement might need to be put into place to stop the inequality from becoming even more stark.

Not only was this no bullsh*t, this had some nice turns of phrase that will stick in the listener's head. It's a health issue with social welfare ramifications. It's a welfare issue with public health ramifications. What will the social settlement be once this is all over? Will it be one that keeps the inequality from becoming even more stark than it is now?

THAT is how you open a show.

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