The role of right-wing media in spreading dangerous disinformation highlights their moral culpability.
Conservatives who wallow in right-wing media consume a nonstop diet of covid-19 denial and vaccine skepticism, so it should come as no surprise that they are much more likely to believe disinformation. As a result, they are dying in greater numbers than their better-informed, Democratic neighbors, friends and colleagues.
The Kaiser Family Foundation surveyed Americans on eight pieces of disinformation about covid-19 (e.g., the government is lying about the fatalities, vaccines cause infertility). Its poll found, “Nearly half (46%) of Republicans compared to just 14% of Democrats believe or are unsure about four or more misstatements about COVID-19.” In addition: “84% of Republicans believe or are unsure whether the government is exaggerating the number of COVID-19 deaths by including deaths due to other causes, compared to just one third of Democrats.”
And while 52 percent of Republicans think pregnant individuals should not get the vaccine or are unsure, just 28 percent of Democrats do. When it comes to the anti-parasite drug ivermectin, 44 percent of Republicans think it is safe and effective, contrary to what the Food and Drug Administration has said; only 10 percent of Democrats say the same.
The role of right-wing media in spreading dangerous disinformation highlights the moral culpability of the hosts, executives, board members and stockholders who make money off selling lies to an unwary audience. The KFF poll finds: “Among those who say they trust COVID-19 information from CNN, MSNBC, network news, NPR, and local TV news, between three in ten and four in ten do not believe any of the eight pieces of misinformation tested in the survey, while small shares (between 11%-16%) believe or are unsure about at least four falsehoods.”