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Where Americans See Misinformation

This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Willem Roper

Misinformation on the COVID-19 virus in the U.S. is flowing in large quantities, and many Americans see the federal government and mainstream news media as the main culprit.

In a Gallup survey of who Americans believe is the source of false or misleading information on the coronavirus crisis, 47 percent of respondents listed the Trump administration as the leading misinformation actor. Another 33 percent said mainstream news media was their first choice for who is spreading misinformation. Social media trailed at 15 percent, however over 50 percent of respondents listed the technology as their second choice for the leading source of misinformation.

Partisan divides were clear indicators in who respondents distrusted with COVID-19 news. Only 4 percent of Republicans listed the Trump administration as a source of misinformation, compared to 85 percent of Democrats and 39 percent of Independents. On the flip side, 75 percent of Republicans listed mainstream news as a leading actor, compared to just 2 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of Independents.

The consequences for authorities like the federal government and large media companies spreading false information could be the deaths of many more Americans, and a distrust in these institutions – along with technology companies and social media – could only proliferate false information.

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