Misinformation about Covid-19 is not checked on radio and podcasts – Community News
Covid-19

Misinformation about Covid-19 is not checked on radio and podcasts

“People develop a close relationship with podcasts,” said Evelyn Douek, senior research fellow at Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute. “It is a parasocial medium. There’s something about voice that people can really identify with.”

Marc Bernier, a talk radio host in Daytona Beach, Florida, whose show is available to download or stream on iHeart and Apple’s digital platforms, was one of the talk radio hosts who died of Covid-19 complications after suffering anti-inflammatory disease. vaccination views on their programs. The deaths made national news and sparked a flurry of commentary on social media. What attracted less attention was the industry that helped them gain an audience.

In a June episode, Mr. Bernier, after referring to unvaccinated people: “I am one of them. Condemn me if you will.” The following month, he cited an unfounded claim that “45,000 people have died from taking the vaccine.” In his latest Twitter post, on July 30, Mr Bernier accused the government of “acting like Nazis” for encouraging Covid-19 vaccines.

Jimmy DeYoung Sr., whose program was available on iHeart, Apple and Spotify, died of Covid-19 complications after turning his show into a venue for false or misleading statements about vaccines. One of his regulars was Sam Rohrer, a former Pennsylvania state representative who compared the promotion of Covid-19 vaccines to Nazi tactics and made a sweeping false statement. “This is by definition not a vaccine,” Mr Rohrer said in an April episode. “It’s a permanent change in my immune system that God created to handle the things that come that way.” Mr. DeYoung thanked his guest for his ‘insight’. Mr. DeYoung died four months later.

Buck Sexton, the host of a program from Premiere Networks, a subsidiary of iHeart, recently put forward the theory that massive Covid-19 vaccinations could accelerate the mutation of the virus into more dangerous strains. He made this suggestion when he appeared on another Premiere Networks program, “The Jesse Kelly Show.”

The theory appears to have its roots in a 2015 paper on vaccines for a chicken disease called Marek’s disease. The author, Andrew Read, a professor of biology and entomology at Penn State University, has said his research has been “misinterpreted” by anti-vaccine activists. He added that Covid-19 vaccines have been found to significantly reduce transmission, while chickens vaccinated with the vaccine against Marek’s disease were still able to transmit the disease. Mr Sexton did not respond to a request for comment.

“We see many public radio stations doing great local work to spread good health information,” said Mr. Loviglio, the media professor. “On the other hand, you mainly see the AM radio button and their podcast counterparts are the Wild West of the airwaves.”