How local media spread misinformation from vaccine skeptics

One radio show that appears to be part of that influence is Coast to Coast AM, which is syndicated to 640 local stations and reaches nearly three million weekly listeners. Its host, George Nouri, has interviewed Dr. Tenpenny, Robert Kennedy Jr., an attorney and anti-vaccine activist, and Erin Elizabeth, a vaccine skeptic, founder of the website Health Nut News in recent years.

Activists have used their segments on the show to reinforce their messages. For example, in promotion of Dr. Tenpenny’s appearance to discuss the coronavirus in April 2020, Coast to Coast AM’s website said, “He argues that there are a lot of concerns regarding testing, tracking, symptoms and other factors.” Unknown, that the information being given to us about the disease is redundant.”

That line was shared on Dr. Tenpenny’s social media accounts and tweeted by some of his followers.

In a statement, Mr Nouri said, “We give all views on our program and this includes those who oppose vaccines.”

Vaccine misinformation has also been published on sites that claim to be local news, but which are pay-for-play content websites. These sites, where articles are ordered and paid for by conservative think tanks, political operatives, corporate executives and public relations professionals, have emerged to fill the void left by the pitfalls of local publications.

Recent articles on some of those sites, such as Last Frontier News in Alaska and Bowling Green Today in Kentucky, highlighted people who died after receiving COVID vaccines, without saying that it was unclear why. Vaccines were responsible, according to a review in The Times. It followed a pattern established on the Anti-Vaccine Blog to pull data from a national database of post-vaccine deaths without explaining the limitations of the data.

Last Frontier News and Bowling Green Today did not respond to requests for comment.

At least one local radio host has recently reiterated his anti-vaccination stance. Phil ValentinesA conservative radio host in Tennessee declared in a blog post In December that he would not get the vaccine because his chance of dying from the virus was “less than one percent”.

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