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How Local Media Spreads Misinformation From Vaccine Skeptics

The New York Times: “Facebook and other social media have been under scrutiny for vaccine misinformation, but local outlets have also sometimes been active…In total, local media remains a significant force. There were 1,762 local television stations and 3,379 radio stations operating in the United States last year, according to the Radio Television Digital News Association and Syracuse University. While print publications have been decimated, there are still about 1,300 daily papers and 5,800 weekly publications, with roughly half located in small rural communities, according to research from the University of North Carolina. Jo Lukito, an assistant journalism professor who studies disinformation at the University of Texas at Austin, said local media is often a starting point that creates a “trading up the chain” effect. It starts when a rumor is covered or published in local media, she said, where it can gain a sheen of credibility. Then “when you pitch it to a Fox News or a larger news platform, you can say that this other outlet covered it, so it must be real,” she said…”

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