One common factor emerges from the explosion of disinformation, COVID conspiracy theories, and mistruths spread on the coronavirus on the internet: Ex-President Trump. Research teams at Cornell University came to this conclusion after analyzing 38 million papers about the pandemic published in English-language media around the world. Mr Trump was mentioned almost 38 per cent of the time in the overall “misinformation debate,” making him the most powerful agent of the “infodemic” — falsehoods about the pandemic. It came to the notice of researchers that Donald Trump was using the pandemic to his convenience during his election campaign, making truths and inventing lies as per his need. He would inflate and deflate the situation as per his personal requirements. He was spreading COVID-19 controversial theories when he did not have concrete answers for the public. It was a tactic to evade responsibility.
The 11 controversies spread by Donald Trump contributing to the infodemic
Sarah Evanega, said that there were 11 leading topics where Trump had given rise to conspiracy theories recently. Among all the theories was one that caused a mass uproar: the theory relating 5G and Coronavirus. Trump had been one of the lead proponents of the belief that COVID and 5G were related. The former President used his platform to speak up on the matter and called for mass 5G testing challenges.
He claimed that the two were related and if people looked into it they would find evidence. Scientists and specialist had to step in and put the 5G myths to sleep. The harm had already been done. Experts are at work, trying to undo the damage that has been done by Trump.
Trumps focus on ‘miracle cures’
The most common source of disinformation was “miracle cures,” which included Mr. Trump’s advocacy of anti-malarial medications and disinfectants as possible remedies for Covid-19. According to the study, this accounts for more misconceptions than the other ten issues combined. They discovered that far more than 1.1 million of the much more than 38 million reports published between January 1 and May 26 included misinformation. They were looking for ways to recognize and categorize lies, as well as patterns in news.
To those who have been watching Mr Trump’s statements, the idea that he is responsible for spreading or amplifying misinformation might not come as a huge shock. The president has also been feeding disinformation campaigns around the presidential election and mail-in voting that Russian actors have amplified. His own government has tried to stop this from spreading. While the present circumstances are bringing things to light, Trump has always been a feeder of the infodemic.
However, the Cornell researchers stated that they wanted to see more reports of conspiracy theories and less stories about Mr. Trump. Simple, succinct, and reliable knowledge is the basis of a successful approach to a pandemic according to public health officials. According to Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, a deputy chancellor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a retired assistant deputy director at the Food and Drug Administration had something to say. He said, ignorance about the pandemic is “one of the big reasons” the United States isn’t performing as good as other nations in combating the pandemic.
Cornell’s Research to help curb the problem
Cornell Alliance for Science initiated the research. It is a non-profit dedicated to using science to increase food protection and sustainable development. One of its goals is to encourage people to make decisions based on scientific evidence. They wanted to diminish the effect of a possible infodemic. Dr Evanegav carried out the study in association with, Mark Lynas. They did this in collaboration with media experts from Cision, a company that conducts media analysis. A scientific journal had read the research and peer reviewed it wherein it could be published. The authors though, retracted it because they thought they had important public health knowledge to share, according to Dr. Evanega.
The researchers wanted to find any instance of propaganda in “traditional media,” such as The New York Times as well as other news organizations. In their overall studies, they featured fact-checking reports that debunked misconceptions. The researchers wrote that fact-checking papers contributed for just 16.4 percent of the papers that contained misinformation. Before publishing, people are not fact-checking the news they are spreading.
Conspiracy Theories as feeders of the infodemic
Conspiracy theories contributed to 46% of all misinformation references, according to the report. One of these hypotheses, which surfaced in early April, claimed that Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the administrator of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a well-known expert on the disease outbreak, was overstating deaths or was a perpetrator of pharmaceutical industry attempts to develop medications and vaccines. They looked for news using hashtags like #FireFauci and #FauciFraud on social media. The researchers found over 11,000 misleading articles about Dr. Fauci, compared to over 295,000 articles about miracle cures. More than 40,000 papers discussed the alleged Democratic hoax. More than 6,000 papers were referencing bat soup. This was the subject of a video that circulated on social networks in the past.
In conclusion, the researchers spoke of their disbelief and anger. It was directed at the fact that Donald Trump was more interested in spreading falsehoods than dealing with the situation at hand. They also revealed that it was all part of his politics to get away from being accountable. He was doing a great disservice to the people by diminishes the gravity of the situation.