|By Paul Breeden, |
Chair, Bristol NUJ
How should journalists cover conspiracy theories? That’s never been so much of a burning question as it is now. The Covid-19 crisis has brought not just the usual suspects out of the woodwork – the 9/11 deniers, the world government theorists and the lizard-ruler fantasists – but those who are genuinely worried that the new virus is something other than a natural event.5G: Real, but probably misguided, health fears have become conflated with scientific nonsense linking the technology with the Covid pandemic.
It’s not surprising when something as devastating as the coronavirus occurs, causing death and economic meltdown the world over, that some people don’t accept at face value the explanations they’re being given. The truth is often nuanced, and conspiracy theories give a simple answer.
What’s a journalist to do? My abiding belief has been that it’s our job to explain all the arguments to people so that they can make up their own minds. What, though, when the evidence is overwhelmingly on one side – as with climate change? It seems wrong to present a ‘balanced’ debate for and against human-induced global warming when 97% of the best qualified experts assert that, yup, it’s happening, and we’re to blame.
The same would seem to apply to the current crop of campaigners who assert that Covid 19 is somehow connected the rollout of 5G telecoms networks.
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