Some months back I subscribed to “The Morning,” a daily email from the NY Times that includes synopses of various news stories. In one of the more recent editions, there was an item entitled, “Information Contagion.”
The article included a brief discussion about a recent video that claimed Dr. Anthony Fauci created the coronavirus using monkey cells(!). It then went on to point out that this isn’t the only misinformation being spread related to the virus. In fact, as many of us already know, there are several dubious sources; for example, Fox News, Sinclair (which operates almost 200 television stations), and Breitbart. (In fact, Breitbart recently produced a video that claimed the drug hydroxychloroquine cured the virus.)
The article then asked what I thought was a very relevant question:
Why is the U.S. enduring a far more severe virus outbreak than any other rich country?
Following is the answer … which I think is spot-on.
There are multiple causes, but one of them is the size and strength of right-wing media organizations that frequently broadcast falsehoods. The result is confusion among many Americans about scientific facts that are widely accepted, across the political spectrum, in other countries.
Canada, Japan and much of Europe have no equivalent to Sinclair — whose local newscasts reach about 40 percent of Americans — or Fox News. Germany and France have widely read blogs that promote conspiracy theories.
The article further points out that …
Fox is particularly important, because it has also influenced President Trump’s response to the virus, which has been slower and less consistent than that of many other world leaders.
I don’t think any of this is new to my readers, but sometimes seeing it in print confirms what most of us already know.