We'll give you a hint: it's gone viral ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

October 7, 2020

Understand more. Argue less.

Echo chamber: An environment (Twitter, Facebook, cable TV) in which a person encounters only beliefs or opinions that reinforce their own views.

Our echo chambers are comfortable, but we don't live in a country where everyone's just like us. The path to a better future requires understanding, not prejudice.

Written by our bipartisan team, this newsletter will give you the perspectives to make you more informed, open, and civil. We have more in common than we think.


Corona's In The (White) House

Katherine Chuang

Now 2020 is just piling on. Poor form if you ask us. 

Breaking news: President Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week. Just kidding, you knew that already; it’s been the main story on almost every news outlet for days. Because of that, we’re focusing less on last weekend and more on its potential November implications.


  • It happened. Donald Trump was diagnosed with COVID and admitted to Walter Reed medical facility on Friday, and was released Monday at 6:30 pm EST. (AP)

  • Never fear. On Monday morning, he tweeted, “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.” (Twitter)

  • Social dilemma. This event hasn’t helped our doomscrolling tendencies, and apparently other’s death-wishing tendencies either. Since his diagnosis, Twitter, Facebook, and Tik Tok have been removing posts that wish harm on the President. (CBS News)

  • From the people. 60% of Americans said Trump is wrong to say that there’s nothing to fear. 53% are still “very worried” about the virus. (Morning Consult)

  • A numbers game. This morning, Trump tweeted that COVID-19 is “less lethal” than the flu in most populations. The CDC’s estimate puts the mortality rate at .05% and the seasonal flu at .01%, meaning COVID is five times deadlier. (USA Today)


Narrative Overview

Katherine Chuang

Here are the narratives our team has identified, and the headlines and article snippets that support them. They're not necessarily false, but they do support the biased narrative from each side.

Narrative from the Left

When Trump was diagnosed, he and the Right called for unity. Where was that unity when over 200,000 Americans died? Trump’s trivialization of the disease is a danger to the public, and clearly, himself.

Headlines & Snippets

Coronavirus looms over Trump’s first day back at work

"President Donald Trump is back at the White House, trying to project a sense of normalcy. But the coronavirus still dominated his first day of work since leaving the hospital." (Politico)

Trump’s ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ COVID-19 Tweet Angers Pandemic Survivors

"ER doctors, public health experts, survivors of the disease and those who have lost loved ones were aghast at the president’s cavalier words." (HuffPost)

Trump, Laboring to Breathe, Says He’s Fine and Everything Else Will Be Too if You Just Believe Him

"Trump, to be clear, is almost certainly still contagious and even his doctor—who is obsequious to the point of malpractice—says he’s “not out of the woods yet.” (Slate)

Narrative from the Right

This pandemic affected us all, yet deplorable people are giddy that our President’s life was in danger. He has more first-hand experience with COVID than Biden, and we need a fighter like that to keep us great.

Headlines & Snippets

Trump's looking forward to second debate against Biden

“I feel better than I did 20 years ago!” Trump wrote Monday before returning to the White House aboard the Marine One helicopter. “He’s back,” Dr. Sean Conley, the president’s physician." (NYP)

The Media Coverage Of Trump’s Covid Diagnosis Was A Disgrace

"Yes, there were some people who straight up wished the president, his wife and others affected at the White House would jut die already..." (Federalist - not our typo, don't worry)

Nolte: Trump Is So Right About Not Letting the Coronavirus Dominate Us

"Caution and common sense will get us through this with our country intact. Fear and domination will get us though this only to find the cure was worse than the disease." (Brietbart)

What Does It All Mean?

If your news outlets are pushing the Left’s narrative, you’ll be pissed off by Team Trump’s handling of his diagnosis. 209K Americans are dead, and he has the nerve to say “don’t let it dominate your lives” while paying $750 in taxes to receive the best care out there? Instead of focusing on death wishes from the Left, you may see this as a representation of his poor COVID response in general.

If your news outlets are pushing the Right’s narrative, you’ll see this as yet another obstacle that the President has overcome. Trump, unlike most politicians, has actually had the virus,  allowing him to lead even better than before. Instead of focusing on how Trump contracted and handled his COVID stint, you may concentrate on the vile partisanship and bad faith from the Left.

FiveThirtyEight’s aggregate poll has Biden leading Trump nationally by 9%, which means that the President faces a daunting task with less than 30 days until the election. However, polls didn’t stop him in 2016 and the race certainly isn't over yet. We also still don’t know how his quarantine situation will play out; the next debate is scheduled for Oct. 16, which Trump said he’ll be attending. Will the 77-year-old Biden participate? In that same vein, Trump is at his best (campaign-wise) when leading rallies and in-person events. On October 5, he tweeted that he’d be “back on the campaign trail soon.”

Trump’s campaign is leveraging his familiarity with the disease to add authority to his claims. The problem? His experience seems detached from the general public’s (if you know how to get 24/7 care at one of the top hospitals in the country please let us know). He did receive doses of an experimental drug cocktail, which is currently unavailable to the general public. Trump has been lobbying to make it accessible to Americans as a last resort.

However, seeing Trump walk into Walter Reed and ‘defeat’ COVID may energize Republicans to hit the polls extra hard in a month. Because of his personal experience with the virus, his claims and statements about the coronavirus could carry a little more weight with voters than they did a week ago.


It's Not All Bias 

Here are the narratives our team has identified, and the headlines and article snippets that support them. These headlines are not necessarily false, but they do support the biased narrative from each side.

Trump deploying 'high-risk strategy' by leaving hospital so early

Fox News shows fault in the president and his decision making, which is a departure from how other right-wing news sources are portraying Trump.

Trump allies turn Covid diagnosis into a message of strength

Politico presents the potential of a unified right-wing without immediately discounting its viability, deviating from the prominent left-leaning narrative.

Civility Scavenger Hunt

If you've found examples of civility in your life, let us know! Here's what your submission could look like:

  • A short story about a civil conversation you've had recently.What was it like? How did you avoid a shouting match?
  • A resource that's widened your perspective and helped you be more civil. This could be a movie, book, app, etc.
  • Someone that you think personifies civility. What can we learn from them?

Shoot us an email with your response and we might feature you next week!

Last Week's Winner

"On Thursday I finally caved and watched the Social Dilemma on Netflix. It really opened my eyes to how social media is designed to reinforce my beliefs, not give me a range of perspectives. I always knew that those platforms were designed in that way, but I didn't realize the exent of it until I watched the movie. Anyone who hasn't seen it should definitely take the time to do so. Thankfully, Civil is a solution! Can't wait for the next one."

Christian P. (Grand Rapids, MI)

Want to Learn More About Our Bias Ratings?

Our bias ratings are generated by AllSides, which they establish using input from thousands of users and a bipartisan review board.

Until next Wednesday, that's all from us. Thank you for reading!

This edition of Civil was written by three people who are tired of news in its current form. Nathan tends to lean right, while Liam tends to lean left. Max is your editor.