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NYT reporter Elon Musk calls an 'epic liar' explains how feds opened the door for COVID misinfo

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

There's a piece in The Harvard Gazette this week about a visit by New York Times health and science reporter Apoorva Mandavilli and her argument that the federal government dropped the ball when it came to heading off COVID-19 misinformation. Anti-vaxxers and others "benefited from mistrust engendered by early stumbles in messaging" about the virus and prevention, she said.


"Officials initially put more emphasis on hand hygiene rather than masking and erred in communicating candidly about the vaccines and side effects," she said. "Anti-vaccine activists used all of that to their advantage."

Liz Mineo reports:

To improve trust in public health agencies, officials must have a clear and accurate communications strategy to encourage cooperation and head off rumors and suspicions, said Mandavilli. Leaders should also acknowledge what went wrong with their messaging last time and be more transparent and forthcoming about the information and data they have.

And they could take some important lessons from the anti-vax movement, she said in response to a question from a student in the audience.

“They knew to get the information in early,” she said. “They’re excellent at making it easy to understand; they use bite-sized points, memes, and things that people can really retain. They use social media very well. One thing I kept seeing over and over is that the government was absent from social media.”

In contrast, Mandavilli, said the anti-vax campaigners “were loud. And they were clear. And they had all the answers.”

They really should delineate between true anti-vaxxers and those with suspicions about the COVID-19 vaccine. And Mandavailli should look in a mirror. This is her, right?


And that's why we had to mandate masks on 2-year-olds, or else your daycare could be shut down.


As The Twitter Files showed, the government certainly was involved with social media … behind the scenes, censoring.


The "anti-vaxxers" were banned from social media, so we don't see how they're blaming "memes" for spreading misinformation.


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