A US poll taken last week found 44% of Republicans think Bill Gates is working on a coronavirus vaccine because he wants to plant a microchip in them and monitor their movements.
Yahoo News and YouGov found nearly half of Republicans believe that baseless conspiracy theory and may be resistant to using a vaccine that could end the pandemic. The poll also found that 19% of Democrats believe that story is credible while 52% know it is false. Only 26% of Republicans surveyed were certain the Microsoft founder is not hatching such a plot.
According to that study, 50% of those who believe the Gates theory cite Fox News as their primary source for television news. While Fox News’ coverage of the pandemic has been widely mocked, Yahoo notes the Gates’ theory is not among the narratives the right-wing cable outlet has pushed.
Of those who cited MSNBC as their primary TV news source, 15% bought into the Gates theory while 61% recognised it as untrue.
The survey also found that liberals are not immune to false narratives, including the rumour that Covid-19 deaths have already surged in states that have been quicker to reopen.
More than 80% of Democrats, Republicans and independents agree that misinformation about coronavirus is being reported. They just split on what that information is and who's misreporting it.
Through his foundation, Gates has committed US$300mil (RM1.30bil) to curbing the coronavirus pandemic. The 64-year-old tech innovator and philanthropist’s US$107bil (RM466.89bil) net worth makes him the second-wealthiest person alive, behind Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. – New York Daily News/Tribune News Service
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