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Politics

Nonpartisan Study: Dems Irrationally Afraid Of COVID, Media Largely To Blame

Image: YouTube

A new study released by Franklin Templeton Investments demonstrates the yawning gap between reality and perception concerning the coronavirus–and does so based on political affiliation. Authored by Sonal Desai, Ph.D., the CIO of the firm’s Fixed Income division, the study is that rare piece of analysis that lays bare the folly of panic on the left.

Desai exposes the left’s lack of comprehension deftly and not without some humorous asides.

The first round of our Franklin Templeton–Gallup Economics of Recovery Study has already yielded three powerful and surprising insights:

1. Americans still misperceive the risks of death from COVID-19 for different age cohorts—to a shocking extent;

2. The misperception is greater for those who identify as Democrats, and for those who rely more on social media for information; partisanship and misinformation, to misquote Thomas Dolby, are blinding us from science; and

3. We find a sizable “safety premium” that could become a significant driver of inflation as the recovery gets underway.

Ibid.

The basis of the study is to discover how perception of the virus will affect economic recovery, and therefore help to guide Franklin Templeton’s investment strategies. Such studies are typically devoid of political observation, but Desai goes further than simple data points, and points out the culpability of mass media and social media in misleading the public–especially Democrats.

For the last six months, we have all read and talked about nothing but COVID-19; how can there be still such a widespread, fundamental misunderstanding of the basic facts? Our poll results identify two major culprits: the quality of information and the extreme politicization of the COVID-19 debate:

* People who get their information predominantly from social media have the most erroneous and distorted perception of risk.

* Those who identify as Democrats tend to mistakenly overstate the risk of death from COVID-19 for younger people much more than Republicans.

This, sadly, comes as no surprise. Fear and anger are the most reliable drivers of engagement; scary tales of young victims of the pandemic, intimating that we are all at risk of dying, quickly go viral; so do stories that blame everything on your political adversaries. Both social and traditional media have been churning out both types of narratives in order to generate more clicks and increase their audience.

The fact that the United States is in an election year has exacerbated the problem. Stories that emphasize the dangers of the pandemic to all age cohorts and tie the risk to the Administration’s handling of the crisis likely tend to resonate much more with Democrats than Republicans. This might be a contributing factor to why, in our survey results, Democrats tend to overestimate the risk of dying from COVID-19 for different age cohorts to a greater extent than Republicans do.

Our susceptibility to how the information is presented also plays a role. The same data can be portrayed in different forms on a graph—some reassuring and some alarming. Our study finds that how the data are presented has a very strong impact on people’s attitudes. For example, respondents who were shown COVID-19 case trends for Texas and Florida in isolation were much less willing to reopen schools and businesses than those who were shown the same trends compared to New York. And more alarming graphics tend to be used more frequently, as they generate greater engagement.

Ibid.

For more, here’s the link again. While the results of the study will come as no surprise to CDMedia readers, it is a tool produced by a nonpartisan and respected financial institution that you can use in discussions with friends and family.

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4 comments

Craig August 21, 2020 at 7:30 pm

Holy shit are we still debating this? Nearly 180,000 dead in America alone. This is not partisan issue and concern is definitely not irrational you fucking twit.

Reply
Your Neighbors Up North August 26, 2020 at 9:06 pm

“how can there be still such a widespread, fundamental misunderstanding of the basic facts? ”
It’s simple, really. You have a president who’s spewing bullshit to better his reelection efforts. He said it was nothing to worry about, how many times? If you’re president lies to you, it’s expected that many would have a “fundamental misunderstanding of the basic facts.”
You guys really need a new president. Anyone is better than the clown you’ve got now.

Reply
vibrating diddler September 10, 2020 at 4:22 am

Audio tapes of the president himself acknowledging the severity of covid and admitting he lied to the public to downplay the severity. There’s nothing more to say on this dim witted blog post. He fcked us.

Reply
bloc19491 October 12, 2020 at 7:24 pm

@Craig, how many of those 180,000 (now 210,000) were under 65 with no comorbidities? The point of the article is that people of all age groups are not effected equally by this virus, not nearly. Yet media sources are constantly using a few isolated stories of young people dying to scare everyone into thinking that we’re all at the same risk?

Did you even read the article?

Reply

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