WaPo: New Research Suggests Conservative Media Aggravated U.S. Viral Pandemic

Screengrab / Fox News / YouTube

Megan Everts

New studies indicate that conservative media such as Fox News may have intensified the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S..

Three recent studies have suggested that conservative media sources such as Fox News have contributed to the intensification of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, reported the Washington Post.

  • Irene Pasquetto, chief editor of the Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review, said: “We are receiving an incredible number of studies and solid data showing that consuming far-right media and social media content was strongly associated with low concern about the virus at the onset of the pandemic.”
  • One study found that “people who got most of their information from mainstream print and broadcast outlets tended to have an accurate assessment of the severity of the pandemic and their risks of infection,” while “those who relied on conservative sources, such as Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories or unfounded rumors.”
  • Another study found that “a 10 percent increase in Fox News viewership within a Zip code reduced its residents’ propensity to stay home, in compliance with public health guidelines, by about 1.3 percentage points.”
  • Another paper similarly found that “Fox News viewers are less likely to comply with public health guidelines than consumers of other media,” and it “provides evidence that those behavioral differences are contributing to the spread of the coronavirus and mortality rate of covid-19.”
  • The Washington Post notes that “taken together, [these studies] paint a picture of a media ecosystem that amplifies misinformation, entertains conspiracy theories and discourages audiences from taking concrete steps to protect themselves and others.”

While these studies do show interesting suggestions, it is important to note that not all of these studies have gone through a formal peer-review process yet.

Read more here.

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