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Vol. 1, No. 1

Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction

Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction (CNN) releases new 5–15-minute episodes every weekday. The show’s host, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, an Associate Professor in Emory University’s Department of Neurosurgery and the Associate Chief of Neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital, is certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery

Listeners will know the host from CNN: Dr. Gupta is used to being on tape (camera in the cable TV world) and reporting in short segments, which is great for a daily podcast with bite-sized episodes. He has great presence and is a well-known, and fairly trusted, medical resource from the media. Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction is just what I would expect from a CNN daily podcast. 

Each episode tackles a topic that the general public might be wondering about, often something recently reported on in the media. As of mid-May there has been a short series of episodes addressing how the future will look for certain industries—restaurants, airlines, and education. Earlier episodes featured Dr. Gupta and friends answering questions about dating, personal financial planning, mask guidance, and how to survive isolation during COVID-19.

The very quick, 10–15 minute daily episodes don’t allow time for different viewpoints. What you are hearing is Dr. Gupta’s, or his guest’s, definition of the fact vs. the fiction. It’s on-brand with CNN, which may alienate some listeners, although my view is that it’s also not particularly leftist in its approach. I don’t usually feel compelled to do anything differently after listening, and I can hear more interesting stories with more experts on other COVID-19 shows. There’s nothing particularly objectionable about the show, but also not a lot to write home about.

Fact-based: 3 of 5.

Host: 4 of 5.

Production: 5 of 5.

Storytelling: 3 of 5.

Perspective: 3 of 5.

Action-Oriented: 2 of 5.

Overall Rating: 2 of 5.