A New Study Found that Trump is the ‘Single Largest Driver’ of Coronavirus Misinformation; and Debate Commission Will Make Big Changes After Biden-Trump Faceoff.
Researchers at Cornell University analyzed 38 million articles concerning the pandemic media around the world in a new study. And out of the flood of conspiracy theories, misinformation, and falsehoods, one common thread was obvious: President Trump.
Out of all of the combined data, 38 percent of the overall “misinformation conversation” had mention of the president. This makes him the largest driver of falsehoods surrounding the pandemic.
This was the first comprehensive study of its kind that examined coronavirus misinformation in both traditional and online media.
“The biggest surprise was that the president of the United States was the single largest driver of misinformation around Covid,” said Sarah Evanega, the study’s lead author and director of the Cornell Alliance for Science. “That’s concerning in that there are real-world dire health implications.”
The study identified 11 topics of misinformation. And the most prevalent topic? “Miracle cures.”
“There is a science of rumors. It’s when there is uncertainty and fear,” said Dr. Sharfstein, who teaches on public health crisis communications. He said consistent and honest messaging is essential when it comes to an absence of vaccines or treatments.
“This is what we need to save lives,” he said. “If it’s not done well, you get far more infections and deaths.”
On Wednesday, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that it is considering big format changes for the remaining debates. The changes are a result of President Trump repeatedly disregarding rules that resulted in a chaotic debate.
“Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues,” the CPD said in a statement. “The CPD will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly.”
The CPD will work with both candidates ahead of the debates to come up with a new set of agreed-upon rules. This move is considered to be highly unusual and goes to show how unruly Tuesday night’s event was.
It isn’t clear what the changes might be yet. A source close to the commission said one consideration is the ability to cut off a candidate’s microphone when they violate an agreed-upon rule. However, time will tell about what changes will be made.