Study: Fox viewers more likely to believe COVID lies
People who trust Fox News Channel and other media that appeal to the conservatives are more likely to believe the lies about COVID-19 and vaccines than those who mainly go elsewhere for information, a study found.
While the Kaiser Family Foundation study released this week found clear links between the news outlets people trust and the amount of misinformation they believe in, it has not been questioned whether these attitudes specifically came from what they saw there.
“Maybe that’s because the people who select these organizations themselves believe (the disinformation) coming in,” said Liz Hamel, vice president and director of public opinion and poll research at Kaiser. .
Kaiser asked people whether or not they believed in seven widely disseminated untruths about the virus, among which the government is exaggerating the number of deaths from the coronavirus, hiding reports of deaths caused by vaccines or that vaccines can cause infertility, contain a microchip or can change DNA.
For the people who trust news from the network or local television, NPR, CNN, or MSNBC the most, between 11% and 16% said they believed at least four of these false statements, or weren’t sure about them. that was true.
For Fox News viewers, 36% believed or weren’t sure about four or more false statements, Kaiser said. It 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 is exaggerating deaths from COVID. Kaiser said 60% of Americans believe this or said they don’t know if it’s true or not.
A clear partisan divide over trust in the media has been evident for years, and Kaiser said this extends to the news of COVID-19. Kaiser found, for example, that 65% of Democrats say they believe what they hear about COVID-19 on CNN, while only 17% of Republicans believe. About half of Republicans believe what they hear about the coronavirus on Fox, while only 18% of Democrats believe it.
The extent to which COVID-19 has become a political battleground is evident almost every day. More recently, some Republicans have complained about “government propaganda” after “Sesame Street” character Muppet Big Bird tweeted about getting the vaccine.
A Fox News spokeswoman declined to comment directly on Kaiser’s findings on Tuesday, but pointed to several network figures who spoke out in favor of the vaccination. Most recently, it was Neil Cavuto, a person with multiple sclerosis who contracted the disease but had a mild case because he was vaccinated. He begged viewers to take the photo, “Life is too short to be a donkey,” he said.
Still, skepticism about vaccines and warrants has been a constant rhythm in several Fox shows.
Newsmax released a statement that the network “strongly supports the COVID vaccine, has encouraged its viewers to get the vaccine, and only airs medical experts who support the vaccine.”
The company last week pulled its White House correspondent Emerald Robinson for investigation after tweeting, “Dear Christians: Vaccines contain a bioluminescent marker called Luciferase so you can be followed. She remained nailed to the ground on Tuesday.
Hamel said Kaiser’s findings about the attitudes of people who have not been vaccinated illustrate a real challenge facing public health authorities. Their distrust of the COVID-19 news was wide and deep: The highest percentage of unvaccinated people who said they trusted what a media outlet said on the topic was the 30% who quoted Fox .
“The only thing I didn’t realize when I walked in was how little trust there was between the sources of information among the unvaccinated people,” she said.
Among social media like Facebook and Twitter, trust numbers were particularly low. But Hamel said that doesn’t mean social media hasn’t had a big impact on spreading stories that cast doubt on vaccines.
The Kaiser study was conducted between October 14 and 24 among a random telephone sample of 1,519 American adults.