Monday, November 29, 2021

Study: Fox viewers more likely to believe COVID lies

NEW YORK (AP) — People who rely on Fox News Channel and other media outlets that appeal to conservatives are more likely to believe lies about COVID-19 and vaccines than those who don’t people who go elsewhere mainly for the news, a study has found.

While the Kaiser Family Foundation study released this week found a clear link between the news outlets people trust and how much misinformation they believe, it didn’t take a stand on whether those perspectives were specifically there. came from what they had seen there.

“It may be because the people who are choosing these organizations themselves are going into[misinformation],” said Liz Hamel, vice president and director of public opinion and survey research at Kaiser.

Kaiser polled people on what they believe to be seven widely circulated untruths about the virus, among them that the government is exaggerating the number of deaths due to the coronavirus, deaths from vaccines Reports are hiding or vaccines can cause infertility, contain a microchip or may alter DNA.

For those who used the most trusted network or local television news, NPR, CNN or MSNBC, between 11% and 16% said they believed four or more untrue statements, or that they weren’t sure of the truth. .

For Fox News viewers, 36% either believed or were unsure about four or more false statements, Kaiser said. This was 46% for Newsmax viewers and 37% for those who said they trusted One America Network News.

The most widely believed lie is about the government exaggerating COVID deaths. Kaiser said 60% of Americans either believe it or say they don’t know if it’s true.

A sharp partisan divide on trust has been evident in news outlets for years, and Kaiser said it extends to COVID-19 news. For example, Kaiser found 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, while only 18% of Democrats do.

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The extent to which COVID-19 has become a political battleground becomes apparent almost every day. Recently, some Republicans complained about “government propaganda” after tweeting about vaccinations for “Sesame Street” Muppet character Big Bird.

A Fox News spokesperson did not comment directly on Kaiser’s findings Tuesday, but pointed to several network personalities who have spoken out in favor of vaccination. Recently, Neil Cavuto, a multiple sclerosis sufferer, was diagnosed with the disease but had a mild case as he was vaccinated. He pleaded with the audience to take the shot: “Life is too short to be an ass,” he said.

Yet vaccine and mandate skepticism has been a steady drumbeat across many Fox shows.

Newsmax released a statement that the network “strongly supports the COVID vaccine, has encouraged its viewers to receive the vaccine, and that only medical experts supporting the vaccine are on air.”

The company took its White House correspondent, Emerald Robinson, on the air for investigation last week when she tweeted: “Dear Christians: Vaccines contain a bioluminescent marker called luciferase so you can be tracked.” She was grounded on Tuesday.

Hamel said Kaiser’s findings on the outlook for people who have not been vaccinated illustrate a real challenge facing public health officials. His distrust of COVID-19 news ran wide and deep: the highest percentage of unvaccinated people who said they trusted what an outlet said on the subject was 30% of those who cited Fox.

“One thing I didn’t know was how little trust there was in news sources among unvaccinated people,” he said.

In social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, trust numbers were particularly low. But Hemmel said that doesn’t mean social media hasn’t had a big impact in spreading skeptical stories about vaccines.

The Kaiser study was conducted in a randomized telephone sample of 1,519 US adults between October 14-24.

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