Well-Financed Campaign Is At Heart Of Protests That Appear At First Glance To Be Grassroot Movements
A network of right-leaning individuals and groups, aided by nimble online outfits, are helping incubate the fervor erupting in state capitals across the country. Meanwhile, despite the attention the protests have garnered, polls consistently show that most Americans favor caution when it comes to stay-at-home orders.
The Washington Post:
Inside The Conservative Network Backing The Anti-Quarantine Protests
The ads on Facebook sounded populist and passionate: “The people are rising up against these insane shutdowns,” they said. “We’re fighting back to demand that our elected officials reopen America.” But the posts, funded by an initiative called Convention of States, were not the product of a grass-roots uprising alone. Instead, they represented one salvo in a wide-ranging and well-financed conservative campaign to undermine restrictions that medical experts say are necessary to contain the coronavirus — but that protesters call overkill and whose economic fallout could damage President Trump’s political prospects. (Stanley-Becker and Romm, 4/22)
The Koch Network, Avatar Of The Tea Party, Rejects Shutdown Protests
The libertarian-leaning Koch political network, founded by brothers Charles and David Koch, rose to prominence by funding the tea party protests a decade ago, when taxpayers outraged by an economic stimulus bill and President Barack Obama’s health care plans embraced combative tactics in town halls and protests — and remade politics for years to come. Now, as another recession looms and concerns about government overreach and civil liberties are causing some conservatives to take to the streets, the Koch network is explicitly rejecting the in-person protests. (Severns, 4/22)
Despite Protests, Americans Overwhelmingly Favor Stay-At-Home Orders: Poll
The vast majority of Americans said they support restrictions put in place to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, according to a new poll, despite several crowded protests breaking out across the country against the prevention measures. Eight in 10 Americans said they support measures that include requiring Americans to stay at home and limit social gatherings to 10 people or fewer, according to an AP-Norc poll released Wednesday. (Klar, 4/22)
Coronavirus Misinformation Is Widespread, According To New Report That Calls It An 'Infodemic'
A new report from network analysis firm Graphika concludes that Twitter is awash with novel coronavirus-related misinformation, some of which is being promoted by far right, anti-vaccination and pro-Kremlin online communities. "You have this kind of convergence of health conspiracies, political conspiracies and technology conspiracies, which I think is particularly concerning," said Melanie Smith of Graphika, an artificial intelligence film that studies online communities. (Gallagher and Bell, 4/23)
Facebook (Sort Of) Reacts To Right Wing Use Of Its Platform To Politicize Public Health
Social media platforms have been systemically deleting pandemic-related disinformation, and Facebook, like the others, is keen to publicize a variety of efforts designed to boost credible information and suppress false information on its various properties, including Instagram and WhatsApp, during the coronavirus pandemic. But Facebook and Twitter are caught in what has evolved into a politicized battle over public health. (Myrow, 4/22)