The relation between media consumption and misinformation at the outset of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in the US

A US national probability-based survey during the early days of the SARS-CoV-2 spread in the US showed that, above and beyond respondents’ political party, mainstream broadcast media use (e.g., NBC News) correlated with accurate information about the disease’s lethality, and mainstream print media use (e.g., the New York Times) correlated with accurate beliefs about protection from infection. In addition, conservative media use (e.g., Fox News) correlated with conspiracy theories including believing that some in the CDC were exaggerating the seriousness of the virus to undermine the presidency of Donald Trump. This paper outlines five recommendations to improve public understanding of SARS-CoV-2.

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