“The right-wing media and President Trump eroded faith and trust in scientists and in actual data during this pandemic, so now we’re left at the end of December with this terrible surge in hospitalizations,” Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease doctor at the University of California, San Francisco, who specializes in treating HIV, told NBC News.
One published academic analysis found that from February 1 to March 23, right-leaning outlets had nearly 4,000 stories with misinformation about Covid-19 compared with mainstream outlets, which had about 1,500. The researchers also found that “right-leaning media viewers are more than twice as likely to endorse Covid-related misinformation.”
As a result, based on polling data, these misinformed individuals are “significantly more likely to believe that the CDC is exaggerating the health risks of the virus,” the researchers wrote.
Multiple working academic papers have also found a correlation between Fox News’ coverage of the pandemic, which was skeptical of the virus and downplayed the risks, and less stringent adherence to social distancing and Covid-19 safety measures by viewers.