It’s that time again, so tighten up your sweatpants and get ready for the best of this week’s fake news, starting with:
- CNN’s Reliable Sources reports on how MSNBC and Fox News reported on the same story, about a pair of California doctors spreading misinformation regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus. The dubious docs, condemned by their medical colleagues, are downplaying the threat of the virus, using a totally misrepresentative interpretation of mortality numbers. It’s a perfect example of (1) fake coronavirus news and (2) how different news outlets put their own bias on the same story. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes (correctly) debunked the doctors’ claims while Fox’s Tucker Carlson promoted their views. As I said, CNN (which lies somewhere in-between MSNBC and Fox) reported on the situation.
- Conspiracy theorists who believe that the coronavirus is somehow caused by 5G technology are burning down cell phone towers in Europe. Yeah, really. The Associated Press has the story.
- Okay, here’s one I fell for. Despite the posts on Facebook and various news stories you may have seen, the Trump White House is not selling $100 commemorative COVID-19 coins. The coins are being sold, but by a private company in Pennsylvania (with no ties to the real White House) called the White House Gift Shop. It’s an easy confusion, but still fake news. FactCheck.org does the usual debunking.
- Here’s a great piece on how and why the scientific community needs to be more aggressive in combating all the pseudoscience, fake cures, and misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus. The piece appears in Nature magazine.
- Down in Brazil, police accused the son of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro of masterminding “a criminal fake news racket” engaged in threatening and defaming Brazilian authorities. Read about it in The Guardian.