Podcast | Sorting fact from propaganda in a pandemic

Bad information can be deadly during coronavirus. Audience engagement editor Mohammed Kloub talks about the need for trustworthy news.

Children playing on a playground

Children play at Seattle’s Green Lake Park on March 20, 2020. For weeks, local and state government have recommended social distancing, working from home and avoiding gatherings. During this same time, misinformation about coronavirus has caused many to believe children were immune, the virus was not very contagious or it was similar to the flu in death rates and treatment. (Jen Dev/Crosscut)

Misinformation is nothing new. In the past few years, the spread of convenient fictions and damaging distortions has become ubiquitous in American life, as trolls and propagandists seek to confuse and mislead the American people. What is new, in the era of coronavirus, is the deadly impact of that misinformation. From the beginning of the outbreak in the United States, public health recommendations were questioned at the highest levels while doubts spread about the intentions and efficacy of social distancing. Crosscut engagement editor Mohammed Kloub talks with TCE about the current hunger for information and the troubling trends he is seeing as everyone from Fox News hosts to the president of the United States to our own relatives promote and magnify misinformation about the virus.