For social media, it is the best of times; it is the worst of times.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, in these unsettling, frightening times, can be beautiful things. They offer us a way to share information, pool resources and, well, sort of be together at a time when we can’t actually be together.
However … Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, in these unsettling, frightening times, can also be heinous things, due to all the misinformation, ignorance and selfish stupidity spewed forth by certain individuals. Like the person who made this comment in some group the other day: “Imagine the possibilities and the happiness we could create if we just boycott the news.”
Comments like these—claims that all these COVID-19 precautions and closures taking place not because of the severe public threat, but instead because the media incited some sort of panic to “sell newspapers” or whatever—are offensive to me, because all of this isn’t “selling” newspapers; it’s killing them.
I belong to a couple of organizations of smaller, local independent media, and the overriding sentiments among the editors and publishers I know are 1) a push and desire to cover and serve our communities better than ever during this unprecedented time; and 2) complete fear over the fact that almost all our organizations are facing an existential threat right now.
Virtually overnight, the Independent lost about three-quarters of our advertising revenue, maybe more. I know of newspapers around the country that have suspended their print versions, because almost all the ads are gone. I know small online news publishers who work from home and are taking about not being able to pay their rent.
I say this not to complain, because a whole lot of others in varied businesses are in similar dire situations. However … those other varied businesses aren’t being blamed for causing this—hence my rant.
I’ll share more info with you in the coming days about the Independent’s plans, at least as they stand now. (I will tell you this, though: We are gonna be here serving this community. We aren’t going anywhere.)
Now, onto the news:
• Just announced: The city of Palm Springs has ordered all non-essential businesses to close. Don’t be surprised for the same thing to happen in our other valley cities here soon. They’re basically following San Francisco’s guidelines on what an essential business is; find the list of what’s exempted from that SF order here. Watch Councilwoman Christy Holstege’s page, among others, for updates.
• Two resources to share for you if you fear you may be sick: Call Eisenhower at 760-837-8988 or the Desert AIDS Project at 760-992-0407 before you go anywhere. More info on Eisenhower’s hotline is below.
• Just as we were about to post this, we received word that the Agua Caliente tribe is closing its two casinos, the Indian Canyons Golf Resort, Tahquitz Canyon and Indian Canyon. Employees will be paid for the time being. Watch http://www.aguacaliente-nsn.gov/ for updates.
• Hey, freelancers and independent contractors: Check out this amazing “an aggregated list of FREE resources, opportunities, and financial relief options available to artists of all disciplines.
• BusinessInsider.com has a great list of resources for restaurant workers and bartenders who need some help, including the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program. A toast to Jameson for donating $500,000 to it.
• While we’re at it, stop hoarding toilet paper, you goons!
• You have an extra 90 days to pay your federal taxes.
• Don’t forget to make sure your phone is as clean as possible.
That’s enough for today. Wash your hands, and call up a loved one or three to see how they’re doing. More tomorrow.