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Study finds Trump is the ‘largest driver’ of COVID-19 misinformation

Study finds Trump is the ‘largest driver’ of COVID-19 misinformation

A new study has found that the US president is likely the “largest driver” of misinformation around the coronavirus pandemic.

Study finds Trump is the ‘largest driver’ of COVID-19 misinformation

A study to be released by Cornell University on Thursday local time found that media mentions of President Donald Trump within the context of COVID-19 misinformation “made up by far the largest share of the infodemic”.

Researchers from the New York university analysed 38 million articles about the pandemic from English-language media around the world.

They identified and analysed the most prominent topics of COVID-related misinformation that emerged in traditional media between 1 January and 26 May 2020.

The study found that mentions of Trump made up almost 38 per cent of the overall “misinformation conversation”.

“We conclude that the President of the United States was likely the largest driver of the COVID-19 misinformation ‘infodemic’,” reads the study.

It’s believed to be the first comprehensive analysis of the traditional and online media landscape on the issue of COVID-related misinformation.

The researchers identified 11 specific misinformation/conspiracy sub-topics in their study: miracle cures, new world order/deep state, Democratic Party hoax, Wuhan lab/bioweapon, Bill Gates, 5G, antisemitic conspiracies, population control, Dr Anthony Fauci, plandemic and bat soup.

By far the most prevalent misinformation topic was ‘miracle cures’, accounting for more misinformation than the other 10 topics combined.

“Multiple different misinformation themes converged around the idea of a ‘miracle cure’ for coronavirus,” the study reads.

“Most notably, President Trump began to advocate for the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine (already in use as anti-malarial drugs) as treatments or cures for COVID-19 from March 19, though there was no peer-reviewed clinical data showing that these drugs had any efficacy for treating those suffering from the disease.

“This sparked a substantial amount of media coverage regarding his announcement, the subsequent shortage of these drugs, and later the finding that they were not effective intreating COVID-19 and might indeed be harmful.

“Coverage received another boost when President Trump claimed on May 20 to be taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventative, keeping this issue in the limelight longer.”

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