This article draws on a broadcast popular among the anti-vaccine community to map out six themes used by the broadcast to mislead viewers about COVID-19. The themes are the claim that “they” – government and pharma – are lying to you, claims that COVID-19 is an excuse to remove civil liberties, viewing everyone as an expert, claiming that science cannot save us, skewing the science, and a claim that “they” are out to harm the viewers. The article points out that similar themes are used to mislead followers with anti-vaccine information. It highlights the concern that these themes will not only mislead people who are already anti-vaccine about the pandemic, but may draw in people who are not anti-vaccine but are seeking information about COVID-19, and suggests some options for dealing with the misinformation. Scientists benefit from understanding these claims, as we are often tasked with providing rebuttals to this misinformation.
Microbes and Infection
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
Smith, Tara C; Dorit Rubinstein Reiss Digging the rabbit hole, COVID-19 edition: anti-vaccine themes and the discourse around COVID-19. Microbes and Infection 22(10) 608-610. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2020.11.001. Retrieved from https://oaks.kent.edu/covid19ksu/digging-rabbit-hole-covid-19-edition-anti-vaccine-themes-and-discourse-around-covid-19