Planet Money: The Other Davos: Saudi Arabia’s Dashboard Indicators

Each year, the World Economic Forum takes place in Davos, a small ski town in the Swiss Alps. The goal of the conference is to promote international cooperation and collaboration, and ultimately improve the state of the world. It’s filled with diplomats, CEOs, billionaires, and idea gurus.

But, all those powerful people gathered in one place means that Davos is a prime opportunity for business. Representatives from various countries come to the conference to woo the global elite to invest. Most countries do this by displaying their best stats, but one country has a different approach. In addition to the good stuff, this year, Saudi Arabia also shared their less favorable rankings. They came to Davos with a database of 700 indicators—both good and bad.

Today on the show, we find out what Saudi Arabia’s up to, and why asking that question helps us understand a world viewed through ranks and ratings.

Hamilton 68 Dashboard

Between October 14 and October 20, we examined 58 unique URLs that were promoted by Kremlin-oriented Twitter accounts. The most prominent theme (24% of all URLs shared) was the probe into the sale of a uranium mining company to Russia’s Atomic Energy Agency that was approved by the Obama administration in 2010. The original reporting by The Hill was a top URL for several consecutive days, all other URLs shared promoted some variation on a theme of corruption, collusion, cover-up by the Clinton-led State Department and/or the Mueller-led FBI (#ClintonRussianCollusion was also a top hashtag last week). Outside of the uranium probe, ten other URLs shared (17% of the total) were coded as anti-Mueller, Comey, and/or Clinton. Conversely, four stories (7%) shared by the network were pro-Julian Assange/Wikileaks. Syria was again the most discussed geopolitical topic, appearing in 10% of the URLs shared by the network. Among other geopolitical topics, “whatboutism” was a prominent theme, with individual stories shared that compared Catalonia to Kosovo and that blamed the United States for worsening U.S./Russian relations due to the bombing of Belgrade in 1999.

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