NEW YORK (AP) – People who trust Fox News and other media that reach out to conservatives are more likely to believe lies about COVID-19 and vaccines than those who mostly go elsewhere for news as the study showed.
While a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation released this week found a clear link between news outlets people trust and the amount of misinformation they believe, there was no point whatsoever as to whether that attitude came from that. what they saw there.
“This could be because the people who choose these organizations believe (in disinformation),” said Liz Hamel, vice president and director of public opinion research and polling at Kaiser.
The Kaiser asked people if they believed seven widespread lies about the virus, including that the government exaggerates coronavirus-related deaths, hides reports of vaccine-related deaths, or that vaccines can cause infertility. , contain a microchip, or may alter DNA.
Among the people who trusted online or local TV news the most, NPR, CNN, or MSNBC, 11% to 16% said they believed four or more of these false statements or were not sure what was true.
According to Kaiser, 36% of Fox News viewers either believed or were unsure of four or more of the false claims. That was 46% for Newsmax viewers and 37% for those who said they trusted One America Network News.
The most common lie is that the government exaggerates the number of deaths from COVID. The Kaiser said 60% of Americans either believe it or say they don’t know if it’s true or not.
The sharp divergence in the credibility of news outlets has been evident for years, and Kaiser said this extends to news of COVID-19 as well. The Kaiser found, for example, that 65% of Democrats say they believe what they hear about COVID-19 on CNN, while only 17% of Republicans do. Roughly half of Republicans believe what they hear about the coronavirus on Fox, compared to only 18% of Democrats.
The extent to which COVID-19 has become a political battlefield is evident almost every day. More recently, some Republicans have complained about “government propaganda” after Sesame Street doll character Big Bird tweeted about vaccinations.
A Fox News spokeswoman did not directly comment on Kaiser’s findings on Tuesday, but pointed to several network representatives who spoke out in favor of vaccinations. Most recently, it was Neil Cavuto, suffering from multiple sclerosis, who contracted the disease, but had a mild form of the disease since he was vaccinated. He pleaded with viewers to take a picture: “Life is too short to be an ass,” he said.
However, skepticism about the vaccine and mandate has been a recurring theme on several Fox shows.
Newsmax released a statement that the network “strongly supports the COVID vaccine, encourages its viewers to receive the vaccine and has only medical experts on air who support the vaccine.”
Last week, the company took off the air of its White House correspondent Emerald Robinson for investigation after she tweeted, “Dear Christians, vaccines contain a bioluminescent marker called Luciferase to track you.” She remained grounded on Tuesday.
Hamel said the Kaiser’s findings about the attitude of people who have not been vaccinated illustrate a real problem facing public health authorities. Their distrust of news about COVID-19 was wide and deep: the highest percentage of unvaccinated people who said they trusted what the media wrote on the topic was 30%, who quoted Fox.
“The only thing I didn’t realize was how little trust there was in news sources among unvaccinated people,” she said.
Among social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, trust scores were particularly low. But Hamel said that doesn’t mean social media hasn’t had much of an impact on the spread of stories of doubt about vaccines.
The Kaiser study was conducted from October 14-24 on a random telephone sample of 1,519 American adults.