COVID-19 Misinformation Remains Difficult To Stop

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Fact checking organizations have performed heroics the corona virus facts alliance database now runs to more than five thousand entries. But who is actually reading it? Robin Listrik joins US now. He is a broadcast journalist. Former present of the world tonight on Radio Four Robin that five thousand debunking milestone by the corona virus facts alliance. It's organized by the POYNTER Institute. That's the reason we're talking today. They've learned something from scrolling through garbage belt. What coins stories are gaining? Traction what did we learn from that? I think we learned a couple of things I think. First of all we learn the people are desperate for explanations for something which frightens them. And that's something that goes back a very long time. I mean since the beginning of time up people have searched full an explanation things which come out of the blue. I mean you're the ancient Greeks believed in God's people later believed in witches spirits. Ghosts whatever you like. We learned people no longer believe experts quote unquote. Perhaps in the way that they used to there is a lot more skepticism out there. There's a lot most cynicism out that you yourself just mentioned president trump. I mean he has to best saga responsibility for this because he ever since she began to be active in the political arena. Talked about fake news. He talked about the lying press. He encouraged people deliberately and for his own political benefit not to believe facts but rather to believe his theories that has been dangerous. It strikes me though that some of the stories that the Poynter Institute survey has identified. Actually kind of go step beyond. I mean you know to each their own. Whatever gets you through the night I am not personally somebody who spends a lot of time concerned with what any given pope says things about anything but one of the most popular pieces of disinformation is one suggesting that. Pope Francis asked believe is to put a white handkerchief on their doorsteps to protect them from the plague. Now even someone as myself who would identify himself as pope skeptic. I can see that there is no way in a million years. Pope Francis is going to say that the people who believe that presumably big fans of Pope Francis. Why do they believe he would say something? So we'll beasley absurd. Well because he is somebody whom they respect more than they respect other sources of information they think the media light them they think politicians light of them if they are practicing loyal Catholics. They don't to believe the pope would lie to them. If you're somebody who wants to promulgate a ridiculous theory or ridiculous myth then you put it into the mouth of the pope do know that there will be some people who will believe it and there's one other thing here that's relevant Andrew. A lot of us believe things that come to us from people we regard as friends so if we are on social media we look at something that's been re tweeted by somebody who we know entrust we look at something on facebook that is being shed by somebody we know entrust we believe it. We don't often go back to the source so if you send me a tweet saying the pope said X. I'll believe it because I trust you more fool. You it might be said but is is the problem. Though beyond the disinformation itself in its beyond even people susceptibility to it's that it's that people want to believe disinformation. I'm reminded not for the first time Over quote by H L Mencken where he said the curse of man in the coals of his worst woes is his stupendous capacity for believing the incredible people. Actually want to think this stuff. How do you address that? Yeah well that is a hugely difficult issue. I mean I have an immense admiration for these fact checking organizations. I fear however that the work that they do doesn't actually have much of an impact because you've put your finger on it. People will believe what we want to believe. People believe what sort of fits into their view of how the world works and if they take the view the politicians lie to them. Look newspapers light to them. The journalist make things up then they will believe all of that and they would prefer to believe other people and now in the midst of a pandemic it is hugely dangerous. Because if people don't believe what the scientists say they then won't take the kind of actions that the scientists say we need to take to try to combat this virus and we will get us into a pretty bad place so it's dangerous. How TO COMBAT IT? I I the answer

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