#18
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  • Fears of 5G violence (#1)
  • Russia uses disinfo law on NYT (#17)
  • Vaccine skeptics in Europe (#8)
  • Nigerian pastor (#20)
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Story Source
ABC News
What started as a bizarre and bogus conspiracy theory involving the novel coronavirus in Britain has apparently crossed the Atlantic Ocean, U.S. law enforcement officials believe, and they are now increasingly worried about the possibility for real-world violence.

Editor’s Note: This newsletter in the past has covered the rise of 5G conspiracy theories in places such as England. Here Josh Margolin of ABC reports off Homeland Security documents about worries that violence could come to the U.S.

LA Times
When filmmaker Mikki Willis uploaded a 26-minute video called “Plandemic” to the internet on May 4, he knew it was likely to cause a stir. But Willis didn’t bank on becoming the poster boy for coronavirus disinformation. In reality, he was just a dad in Ojai making low-budget movies out of his house. The closest he’d ever come to viral fame was when he posted a video in 2015 to his YouTube channel about how he’d bought his young son a “Little Mermaid” doll at the toy store — a moment of open-minded, non-gender-conforming parenting that earned him more than 4 million views and a laudatory spot on the local news.

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George Washington University
Researchers warn scientists are fighting health misinformation in the wrong place

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Deutsche Welle
Increased opportunities for e-learning, effortless social distancing via videoconferencing, unprecedented data access in realtime: With regard to the Covid-19-response, celebrations of the Internet are reminiscent of the techno-optimism two decades ago. But a couple of months into the current pandemic, government responses have turned out to be more and more problematic, and even counterproductive in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

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World Bank
How can the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) build on lessons learned from the Ebola response and apply them to tackle the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19)?

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Nation (Pakistan)
We are living in a digital era which is going to be perfectly digital sooner when technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) & Augmented Reality would be in the access of a common man. Our homes are getting equipped with intelligent virtual assistants, and very soon there will be a plethora of smart appliances that can be controlled with just voice commands or through mobile applications. Such advancements have changed the way of our living, thinking and behaving. While we are at our homes, we are exposed to the world through the internet. This being the case, we have to be careful in the same manner as we should be when we go out physically.

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New York Times
SAN FRANCISCO — On Jan. 27, at a regularly scheduled Monday morning meeting with top executives at Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg turned the agenda to the coronavirus. For weeks, he told his staff, he had been hearing from global health care experts that the virus had the makings of a pandemic, and now Facebook needed to prepare for a worst-case scenario — one in which the company’s ability to combat misinformation, scammers and conspiracy theorists would be tested as never before.

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POLITICO
From Bill Gates to Angela Merkel, experts and political leaders think the only way to return to normal after the pandemic is to develop a vaccine and immunize billions of people against coronavirus. But as the world races to develop a coronavirus vaccine, policymakers may struggle to convince people to get immunized

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Business Insider
A branding expert notes that Steak-umm has successfully inserted itself into the national conversation while also setting itself apart from competitors.

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The Independent (UK)
Disgraced former British doctor Andrew Wakefield is at the forefront of efforts by anti-vaccine activists in the US to use the coronavirus pandemic to try and persuade Americans vaccines are unsafe.

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The Diplomat
China’s state media have the resources to carry on. It’s the Chinese journalists affiliated with independent media who will suffer the most.

Editor’s Note: Part of getting people good information is press freedom. Here Chauncey Jung looks at a move against Chinese nationals’ access to the US for reporting and his view on negative consequences.

Daily Dot
YouTube removed all its coronavirus ads in response to the Daily Dot inquiry.

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The Nation (US)
Even in normal times, the New York-centric nature of the national news media strongly shapes — and skews — national coverage. That has been especially true during the current crisis. In a remarkable and unhappy confluence, New York City — the nation’s news capital — is also the epicenter of the pandemic. Of the more than 1.4 million cases nationwide, about 350,000 have occurred in New York State and 140,000 more in neighboring New Jersey. Of the more than 80,000 deaths nationwide, about a third have occurred in New York.

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Real Clear Politics
In Book I of “Plato’s Republic,” Socrates observes that master doctors serve as our guardians against the most dangerous diseases while possessing the greatest skills for surreptitiously producing them. The quality of doctors’ character makes all the difference.

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Mail and Guardian
Covid-19 has not spared nations, their economies, politics, wealth, systems and people. It is such an invisible yet powerful foe. It has affected decision-making in profound ways as governments around the world, scientists, politicians, legislators, researchers and others leading the fight against the pandemic stumble from one possibility to the next.

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Vice
Standing in his warmly-lit living room, the popular UFO conspiracy theorist David Wilcock was telling his YouTube Live audience that the “Illuminati Deep State” was responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic and that he knew the secrets of how to save humanity from the crisis. More than 20,000 people were watching; hundreds of dollars in donations began rolling in via YouTube Superchat. The video now has more than a million views.

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AFP
Russia on Thursday launched a probe into the Financial Times and the New York Times after the newspapers said local authorities could be vastly under-reporting deaths from the coronavirus in the country.

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Times of India
Most of us have been locked in for weeks now, as Covid prowls outside. We’re sick of knowing, exhausted with information – and none the wiser.

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Columbia Journalism Review
In early January, the Tow Center for Digital Journalism published my report, “Media Mecca or News Desert?” Covering Local News in New York City,” which examined how citywide and hyperlocal news organizations allocate diminishing editorial resources, and the challenges they face filling gaps in coverage. In the weeks and months following publication, two of my interview subjects left their jobs as editors of community and ethnic media outlets to join the staffs of well-funded, citywide non-profit news organizations. Another two, who helmed the digital editions of daily newspapers, were laid off. A few publications received new grants that would allow them to expand their reporting capabilities.

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Global Voices
When it comes to spurious information and the coronavirus, it has been an open season with some Nigerian evangelical pastors. As purveyors of disinformation, several pastors have pushed back against government lockdowns that would impact church closures.

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Vox
It was October 2005 when my husband Mike called me with the news. I was working on my dissertation in my home office, and he had just received the call from his ophthalmologist.

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Vanderbilt University
At this point we’ve all heard about the problems posed by misinformation in our society. From accusations that we’re living in a post-truth world, to deep fakes that can make former President Obama say “Killmonger was right,” to coronavirus cures—the past five years have catapulted the problem of misinformation into the public discourse.

Editor’s Note: Lisa Fazio has devoted her work to the study of misinformation, particularly on the individual level. Here she writes about the problem of “knowledge neglect,” which can affect even those who think they are immune from fake news.

CNet
Joe Biden’s presidential campaign was furious with Facebook when the social network allowed his rival to run a political attack ad it said was filled with lies. Biden’s campaign wasn’t happy with Twitter and Google, either.

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CNN
The story of the coronavirus pandemic can be complicated and hard to follow, from how it started to the measures countries have taken to tackle its spread.

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Reporters Sans Frontieres
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) sees positive aspects to Facebook’s creation of an Oversight Board – of which the first 20 members have just been named – with the aim of lending more transparency to its decisions to allow or remove content, but regrets that, given the scale of the problem, it will be little more than cosmetic.

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