No doubt about it.
Courtesy of NYT:
Of the flood of misinformation, conspiracy theories and falsehoods seeding the internet on the coronavirus, one common thread stands out: President Trump.
That is the conclusion of researchers at Cornell University who analyzed 38 million articles about the pandemic in English-language media around the world. Mentions of Mr. Trump made up nearly 38 percent of the overall “misinformation conversation,” making the president the largest driver of the “infodemic” — falsehoods involving the pandemic.
The study, to be released Thursday, is the first comprehensive examination of coronavirus misinformation in traditional and online media.
“The biggest surprise was that the president of the United States was the single largest driver of misinformation around Covid,” said Sarah Evanega, the director of the Cornell Alliance for Science and the study’s lead author. “That’s concerning in that there are real-world dire health implications.”
The study identified 11 topics of misinformation, including various conspiracy theories, like one that emerged in January suggesting the pandemic was manufactured by Democrats to coincide with Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, and another that purported to trace the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China, to people who ate bat soup.
But by far the most prevalent topic of misinformation was “miracle cures,” including Mr. Trump’s promotion of anti-malarial drugs and disinfectants as potential treatments for Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That accounted for more misinformation than the other 10 topics combined, the researchers reported.
For example, on April 24, a day after Mr. Trump floated — and was ridiculed for — the idea that disinfectants and ultraviolet light might treat Covid-19, there were more than 30,000 articles in the “miracle cures” category, up from fewer than 10,000 only days earlier. Mr. Trump drove those increases, the study found.
To those who have been watching Mr. Trump’s statements, the idea that he is responsible for spreading or amplifying misinformation might not come as a huge shock. The president has also been feeding disinformation campaigns around the presidential election and mail-in voting that Russian actors have amplified — and his own government has tried to stop.
Simply put Donald Trump is a liar, and his lies, and efforts to hide the truth, have led to the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans.
I cannot think of a time when we have so desperately needed a truth-teller in the White House, and instead, we get a chronic liar who treats the truth as if it were the infectious disease.