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Study Finds ‘Single Largest Driver’ of Coronavirus Misinformation: Trump

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Research Finds ‘Single Largest Driver’ of Coronavirus Misinformation: Trump

However in interviews, the Cornell researchers mentioned they anticipated to seek out extra mentions of conspiracy theories, and never so many articles involving Mr. Trump.

Public well being specialists know that clear, concise and correct data is the muse of an efficient response to an outbreak of infectious illness. Misinformation across the pandemic is “one of many main causes” america just isn’t doing in addition to different nations in combating the pandemic, mentioned Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, a vice dean on the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Faculty of Public Well being and a former principal deputy commissioner on the Meals and Drug Administration.

“There’s a science of rumors. It’s when there may be uncertainty and concern,” mentioned Dr. Sharfstein, who teaches on public well being disaster communications. Within the absence of therapies or vaccines, he mentioned, trustworthy and constant messaging is crucial.

“That is what we have to save lives,” he mentioned. “If it’s not carried out properly, you get way more infections and deaths.”

The Cornell Alliance for Science, which spearheaded the examine, is a nonprofit dedicated to utilizing science to boost meals safety and enhance environmental sustainability. One in every of its goals is to advertise science-based decision-making. Dr. Evanega and a Cornell colleague, Mark Lynas, partnered with media researchers at Cision, an organization that performs media evaluation, to conduct the examine. Dr. Evanega mentioned the examine was being peer reviewed by an educational journal, however the course of was prolonged and the authors withdrew it as a result of they felt they’d compelling public well being data to share.

The researchers sought to establish all mentions of misinformation in “conventional media” — together with in Gadget Clock and different main information shops. They included fact-checking articles that corrected misinformation of their complete tally. However fact-checking articles accounted for under 16.4 % of people who included misinformation, “suggesting that almost all of Covid misinformation is conveyed by the media with out query or correction,” the authors wrote.

The examine discovered that conspiracy theories, when lumped collectively, accounted for 46 % of the misinformation mentions. Amongst these theories was one which emerged in early April suggesting that Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Ailments and a revered voice on the pandemic, was exaggerating deaths or was a beneficiary of pharmaceutical firm efforts to seek out therapies and vaccines. To search for such tales, they examined social media hashtags, together with #FireFauci and #FauciFraud.

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