[Global Insight] Fact or fake news? Health & tech journalists tackle COVID-19 ‘infodemic’

today we connect with health and media
experts in New York from conspiracy theories about the origin of covert 19
to junk science like eating garlic and using bleach to cure the virus fake news
and disinformation have been spreading as fast as the virus itself across
social media at the Internet and even on mainstream media this has really not
been helpful in society’s handling that they’d be pandemic only promoting
greater fear and mistrust questionable health advice xenophobia and even the
hoarding of toilet paper to discuss how we can combat this so-called info Demick
we connect with Bruce Wiley doctor of medicine and medical journalist and
Jeremy Kaplan editor-in-chief of Digital Trends both joining us from New York
well let’s start with the most outlandish fake news or disinformation
that you’ve heard regarding the covert 19 I’d like to hear from both of you why
don’t we start with doctor Lee well that’s that’s hard to choose because
there’s so many possibilities that are out there so I can name name a few so
one is that this virus is somehow engineered or design or manufactured as
a bioweapon in a lab and for some reason released deliberately and it’s not clear
why someone would do that but you know the sign if evidence is is getting
clearer and clearer that this came from a natural source there’s a there’s a
very close correlation between the genetic sequences of the sequences of
the virus and the virus is found in bats so that’s one River conspiracy theory
that’s that’s out there and then there’s all this bogus therapies that are being
suggested that you know you can try different types of supplements or
different types of herbal medications or even like hydrogen peroxide or regular
oil so lots of stuff like that the bleach theory was quite scary for me
well what about you mr. Kaplan yeah the misinformation around health is
particularly nefarious potentially leading people to try the wrong thing
course but potential health impacts on themselves I find also scary just the
general misinformation around what’s happening in society so there was a huge
rumor that spread across the city across the country that Trump was going to
close down the borders and put a general lockdown on the US this was spreading by
a text message over the weekend it got so bad in fact that the US government
had to issue an official response on Twitter saying no we have no immediate
plans to do that but not before millions of people at exchange these messages
that just creates this general sense of fear and concern which we should have of
course but exacerbating it through false information it’s really just nefarious
the the other thing that struck me is particularly gross what was false
information around a vaccine I saw a number of reports that the Chinese
government has a vaccine not not true I’m sure the doctor leaked and
corroborated not true at all but the fact that people would start
thinking about that and writing about it the implication that one government is
holding it hostage and not providing it to others creates just this broader
sense of uncertainty which is just not useful in this environment exactly even
if it’s something as silly as eating garlic
it doesn’t really amount to anything helpful at all and at this point and in
this situation well doctor Lee as a journalist and a doctor of medicine how
does it really how does it make you feel to read all these bizarre bits of
information floating around the web and especially when they come from the media
accounts or the mouths of celebrities or public figures yeah these things have
real impact so we it’s easy to forget that all
information that goes out there is actually affecting people so ranging
from people may do certain things and neglect to do other things like for
instance oh so this is things important but if they feel that there’s some other
magical cure they could drink or rub on themselves or what-have-you they may be
doing that instead or they may it may raise the level of panic or suspicion or
mistrust which is especially a problem when like everyone needs to cooperate so
everyone needs to cooperate and social distance and flattened occur
but you have these situations like for instance to continue the pointment the
vaccine I’ve seen Rubin cloning out there that this pandemic was started
because someone wanted to sell vaccine so that’s that’s another hoax that’s out
there that they already have vaccines and let’s either start start a pandemic
as a hoax or actually start a pandemic to sexually sell the vaccine which makes
absolutely no sense you know we’re far from having a vaccine
out there you know people are talking about there’s certainly not gonna be a
vaccine within the within the year and and and and beyond so if you look at the
science it doesn’t make sense but this really creates this very confusing mess
that then makes difficult to actually push out the real facts so the real
facts get lost in this tornado of other information that’s out there right all
this fake news or disinformation it really does come in various forms
whether they’re you know just tweets from celebrities or online articles and
we even see them floating around in traditional media as well Oh mr. Caplan
as a figure in media does it worry you just how advanced and widely dispersed
that fake news or dis invasion has become and how it’s been so prevalent
throughout this entire crisis as well yeah it really does bother me to
piggyback on what dr. Lee said it obfuscates the actual information and at
a time like this when it’s important for actual facts from actual doctors and the
actual government to get out there it just it hurts that people would
intentionally or maliciously or even unintentionally spread this type of
information the other thing I wanted to point out is I think we’re all fairly
aware at this point that certain platforms notably Facebook and Twitter
I’ve had this pervasive issue about fake news what we’ve been seeing lately is
the rise and spread of fake news on other platforms as well I mentioned the
cell phone thing for example you saw a huge spread on whatsapp of fake
information and it’s just and even on tik-tok now there’s been the spread of
false information again perhaps intentional perhaps
but regardless it gets in the way of the real information which we really need to
be sharing and getting out there and being editor-in-chief when you see some
journalists just using you know fake information just create headlines or
perhaps they’re not aware that it’s really fake information and what do you
think should be done do you think this is all just lazy journalism basically
but that’s a very difficult question I mean there there was a period in time
when there was a rush to get online and to get information out as quickly as
possible and yeah you definitely saw people that
were you saw something you rushed to write it whether or not you can verify
the information we certainly put in some stringent some rules in place
at Digital Trends to ensure that we don’t do that go directly to the source
talk to somebody else see if you can corroborate through an official that you
trust but it is very frustrating to see somebody scrambling to get news out
quickly and not necessarily be getting out something accurate or even factual
why this this it’s not necessarily the case of you know the faster the better
we really have to take time and make sure that everything is correct I mean
that is very important well dr. Lee I must admit some fake news
content can give us a good laugh when it’s very obviously fake but when and
when it affects your health or safety then really it’s no laughing matter and
I’d say that goes for any news that goes on chote
for instance Frances health ministry very recently having suggested that
painkillers such as ibuprofen could worsen the effects of the corona virus
many experts have criticized that this hasn’t been verified well what are your
thoughts on this and what kinds of medical disinflation should we be rather
wary of it we’re in a difficult situation because on the one hand
scientists would like to get out information as quickly as possible
because there needs to be at this course so you know the trouble with this
situation is this is a novel virus so there aren’t established treatments
there aren’t established ways to handle the virus so many scientists are trying
to get out the information as quickly as possible so that’s important but then
we’ve seen situations where something will be posted like there are
these platforms where you can post reprints before actually publishing a
paper and having go through a peer review but then they can be used in many
different ways so we have to strike the balance between sharing information but
then having people misinterpret very quickly so the question with the
ibuprofen it’s very early you know it’s it’s based on some initial information
and it really needs to be vetted by other scientists and the scientific
community to determine whether this is something to be of concern particularly
tough I would I would add because it’s hard for consumers for ordinary people
to digest some of the medical knowledge the information that you can probably
get to much more easily so when you see a paper it’s very hard to know if you
can actually trust that and that’s I think that’s one reason that people are
more likely to be susceptible to the fake news that gets spread around oh
this fixes that problem great I like that that’s an easy solution absolutely
as a reporter myself I find it incredibly difficult to write about
medical issues and health issues and even when it comes to you know the names
of medicine and drugs and things like that so there’s question goes to both of
you really what do you think should be done to help mainstream media
journalists as well be just as quick that’s it responding to these stories
but also getting off facts straight at the same time well one issue is when you
do see a study is that the only study that shows something or is is it part of
a series of studies or have other studies confirmed what that studies
shows so even when people are trying to do very legitimate and careful science
you can’t have a finding that just happens to happen and can’t be
reproducible so I think the first thing is you ask have we seen this before you
know have other scientists or other experiments demonstrating the same thing
it’s just consistent with what we’ve seen in the past also you know the
question is does this make sense from biological standpoint so a lot of the
states that we’re seeing are very quick correlations and the trouble is you’ll
see studies of you know small groups of people and they say okay we found this
correlated with this we have to remember that correlation or Association does not
mean causation so just because two things appear together it doesn’t mean
that you know they actually have a cause-and-effect relationship yeah I’m
sure you can find a cause and effect relation or an association or
correlation between people wearing red shirts and many different things but
it’s not like the red shirt causes a medical or scientific effect so I would
say really dig into the science really determined like who else has seen this
and if it comes to the situation where you know you still were gonna report it
make it clear this is a single study you know this shows an association we need
future studies or further investigation to really confirm this yes those
headlines that we see making rather old correlations yes we do see a lot of them
and it can be very misleading for just ordinary people who are not experts at
all on on medicine well mr. Kaplan before we go of course
as non-medical experts most members of the public simply don’t have enough
medical or health knowledge really they don’t know all the facts to distinguish
what’s actually true or false so what are some ways that people can actually
use two spots fake news when they see it yeah yeah it’s it’s hard to understand
scientific studies like that the other challenge is that most people have a
terrible grasp of basic statistics which is the underlying thing that that
scientists rely upon it is this a population it’s large enough the
extrapolate of all can we take this this small study of five or ten people and
say it’s going to be big enough so very hard for consumers to know what’s going
on look I would advise people to lean back on the sources that they know about
there are a number of initiatives from a number of large news sources and social
media sites that are designed to make it easier to spot things so for example
Facebook announced just this morning they’re gonna have the coronavirus
Information Center that pops to the top of your newsfeed if you’re looking
for information and if you rely upon Facebook for news which honestly to many
of us do but it is a fact people do that turn first to this is but it is a
resource that they have custom-built and are making sure is populated with all
the correct information Facebook said this same sort of thing is going to come
through whatsapp another platform that they control they look for those types
of resources trusted resources or curated bits of information directly
from a knowledgeable reputable source rather than leaning on the text message
you just got from your next-door neighbor who happened to have heard
something from some guy down the street it’s we often find bits of information
like that that are shared socially and they’re oftentimes just misleading or or
outright false so it really boils down to I’m going to credible sources for
information and maybe not necessarily trusting every single headline that we
see to grasp our attention well the first thing they treat you as a
journalist is don’t trust anything out there exactly they always yes have room
for doubt and always question what you see well that’s all we have time for
today I’m afraid but our viewers can follow Bruce Wiley’s articles on the
issue and Jeremy Kaplan editor-in-chief of digital transform more on how to spot
fake news on the coronavirus especially thank you both for joining us all the
way from New York thank you thank you this is where you’ll say wrap up our
show today join us tomorrow at the same time for more global insights on issues
making headlines as always thank you to our viewers for watching and have a good


  1. https://graphics.suntimes.com/homicides/


  2. So info Dominic who benefits from info demek? The big corporations selling the toilet paper and the disinfectants? I don't know what tree are we barking up here. I think this is just a demonstration of three people that are very fearful trying to hide their fears through some kind of secondary sublevel kind of argument that really not relevant today oh, so this information is going to get in the way of the real information? Why don't people decide on the sources they want them look into and that's that oh, you're trying to determine what people should listen to and who they should listen to

  3. The United States war on china with Coronavirus
    Is China Ready for war??

  4. Oregano works…

  5. People' the correct information you will ever get is in the book of life and salvation # ( true one book and not the branches) # it is there and the way, the truth and the life's saver and answer's,…..🙏,…… this is certainly and surely facts and not "FAKE",.. 🙏, ,……. especially to those mentioned serpents that is about to,,,, the time right now is really ironical the way it was published and distributed,.

  6. Is the low cost antimalarial drug HCQ a cure for the corona virus because HCQ prevents virus replication?

  7. 'P.S prepare thy soul (#strongest prophesied message reposted# ),,, souls not "seoul",,,, okay,….. souls period' they should know what is this soul is it a body or a spirit or what is it???they know what to do period"🙏, ,,…….

  8. Someone should tell these idiots that hydrogen peroxide diluted with water is a very good disinfectant as it does kill viruses aswell as bacteria which in my very expert opinion is better than just an anti bacterial cleaner and I have 2 PhD's and a medical degree talk about fake information.

  9. Thanks for this lovely news love your work 👍👍 yes I agree slower the better don’t go too fast 💐👍stay safe 😷💐💐

  10. I trust this journalist 💐❤️

  11. This is fake news, oregano and essential oils do work. This is govt sponsored, don't ever forget that. Just like Facebook has a link now to all the correct news oh, we know that's a bunch of s***. The real news go to Peak Prosperity, and watch from day one this guy knows what he's talking about he studied about viruses and pandemics and all that crap

  12. Bruce Lee is alive!

  13. I wouldn't put it past the CCP to start or fuel the bioweapon rumour – to cover up thepossibility it had a lab origin where Horshoe bats were being kept in Wuhan Institute of Virology (they don't naturally occur anywhere near Wuhan) so spread a half lie to cover a coverup. It would look Zoonotic as an accident so impossible to tell apart from a natural zoonotic origin but silly bat soup stories look planted as well. We probably will never know.

  14. Massive use of garlic promotes social distancing.

  15. Corona is a weapon and yes it is clear why someone would do that.
    Just look at the actions being taken.
    This is about pushing a global dictatrorship and crashing economy to re organize it into a new control sysytem.
    Those two guys know this full well.

  16. Believe us now because the media have been so truthful in the past …yeah right

  17. This is the start of Agenda 2030 This fake virus is just a distraction so they can take control. This is 911 on steroids.

  18. CV19 = BS20

    Nuff said

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *