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Although medical misinformation didn’t begin with Covid-19, the pandemic — and the ubiquity of social media — have intensified its impact. But not everything we read or hear can be simply separated into facts and lies. Emotional manipulation and misdirection can be the basis for powerful forms of deception.

This week on “The First Opinion Podcast,” science journalist Faye Flam explores medical information in part by unpacking the three-hour exchange about Covid-19 between scientist-turned-misinformant Robert Malone and Spotify podcaster Joe Rogan. Flam points out the holes in Malone’s logic and how listeners can be aware of similar politically motivated tactics.


“People are foregoing vaccines that would save their lives and people are actually dying because they didn’t get vaccinated,” Flam said. “So I think the consequences of misinformation are enormous for people in this pandemic.”

The conversation stems from Flam’s First Opinion essay titled, “Medical misinformation often isn’t outright lies. It’s more subtle than that.

Be sure to sign up for the weekly “First Opinion Podcast” on Apple PodcastsStitcherGoogle Play, or wherever you get your podcasts.


And if you have any feedback for us — First Opinion authors to feature on the podcast, vocal mannerisms the host needs to jettison, kudos or darts — email us at [email protected] and please put “podcast” in the subject line.

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