The Listening Post

Deadly Disinformation: COVID-19 in Trump’s America

What happens to Trump’s disinformation when it faces the science of COVID-19? Plus, Lebanon’s protests and the media.

On The Listening Post this week: What happens to Trump’s disinformation when it comes up against the science of COVID-19? And, the media outlets that have chronicled Lebanon’s uprisings.

Deadly Disinformation: COVID-19 in Trump’s America

With the coronavirus grinding life to a halt around the world, people are searching for reliable information. But what if two primary sources of news – the government and the most-watched TV channel – are setting aside medical science in favour of politically-driven fiction? 

That is what Americans are dealing with. For three years, President Trump has had fact checkers working overtime. But the stream of disinformation on COVID-19 flowing from the White House has not only misled the public on the severity of the threat, it has put lives at risk. 

Then there is Fox News. Its initial attempt to frame the pandemic as a “hoax” designed to take down the president has also been exposed. As infection rates climb and the death toll mounts – Trump finds himself confronted with some facts – scientific ones – that not even he can deny. 


Charles Seife – Professor of Health Journalism, NYU

Kayla Gogarty – Senior Researcher, Media Matters for America

Caleb Ecarma – Writer, Vanity Fair

Joanne Kenen – Executive Health Editor, Politico

On our radar: 

Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Meenakshi Ravi about China’s removal of yet more American journalists as the media war between Washington and Beijing heats up.

Megaphone: Amplifying voices from Lebanon’s uprising

Like many countries around the globe, Lebanon has declared a coronavirus state of emergency. But the country is already five months into a series of anti-government demonstrations – the biggest since Lebanon won its independence in 1943. The protest movement bridges classes and sects – citizens revolting against a political system that is defined by sectarian identity and has failed to provide them with the economic basics. 

It is an ongoing story that has also revealed much about the failure of Lebanon’s media outlets – too many of which are skewing their coverage – since they are split along the same lines that politicians are. 

The Listening Post’s Tariq Nafi looks at one news site that is out to change the media mix – and mess with the mainstream narratives. Megaphone is an online platform that produces punchy social videos and boundary-pushing opinion pieces – critical takes on the news – and the way it has been covered.


Jean Kassir – Managing Editor, Megaphone

Jamal Saleh – Creative Director, Megaphone

Kareem Chehayeb – Co-founder, The Public Source

Jad Abou Jaoudeh – Head of News, OTV