How Many Disinformation Techniques Can You Spot? Outright Lies Count.
*Note from Dr. Rima: This is a disinformation piece from a supposedly authoritative source that makes all kinds of logical fallacies and illogical statements. For example, if Tiffany Dover was back on line in 20 minutes after fainting, why was it so hard for the PRN reporter to find out what happened to her? How is it logical or meaningful to give credence to the claim that Sullivan’s beliefs killed her because her husband survived his hospital bout? What about the huge Remdesivir and ventilator death rates? Not even a passing nod? Hmmm. Then we get to the fun part: a story about nursing home abuse and neglect sewn with invisible mending thread, onto the tail of the story as if it were somehow connected to death by misinformation:
Welcome to the latest edition of Investigative Roundup, highlighting some of the best investigative reporting on healthcare each week.
Nurse in COVID Vax Death Conspiracy Is Alive
Tiffany Dover, RN, fainted on live TV after being among the earliest cohort of healthcare workers to get the first COVID-19 vaccinations in December 2020. She recovered, and was back in front of the cameras in 20 minutes, but rumors about her death had already started to swirl.
Dover became the center of a conspiracy theory propagated by anti-vaxxers and other disinformation groups — even though she is alive and well.
NBC News reporter Brandy Zadrozny details her journey to prove Dover’s continued existence in a new investigative podcast called “Tiffany Dover Is Dead*”. Zadrozny, who covers the misinformation beat, also weaves in other stories of conspiracy theories, the people who start them, and the people who fall victim to them — both the subjects, and those who believe them.
“Tiffany Dover Is Dead*” is the first season of the “Truthers” podcast, in which Zadrozny explores misinformation and conspiracy theories.
How COVID Disinformation Kills
A family from Long Island told NPR that COVID-19 conspiracy theories are what really killed their mother.
NPR traced the story of 75-year-old Stephanie, who had refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19 because she believed the shots contained microchips. Stephanie died of COVID-19 in December 2021 after also refusing remdesivir and monoclonal antibodies when she was hospitalized.
Stephanie’s daughter Laurie told NPR that the trouble started before the pandemic hit, when Stephanie could no longer play tennis because of knee problems. Upset that she could no longer pursue her hobby, she seemed to have turned to watching conspiracy theory videos online, the family said.
Diane Benscoter, who runs a nonprofit that helps families whose loved ones have been sucked into cults, said conspiracy narratives can provide reassurance and emotional stability by reducing complex problems into simple questions of right versus wrong.
When the pandemic hit, Stephanie echoed what her online videos told her: that COVID was a hoax. She refused to get vaccinated, and her husband complied to keep the peace between them.
She developed COVID-19 in November 2021, and tried to buy ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine online, according to NPR. When her daughters discovered that her blood oxygen levels had fallen to 77%, they rushed her to the hospital.
“I know we’re not alone,” daughter Laurie told NPR. “I know this is happening all over the place.”
“Whoever is creating all this content, is on some level waging a war — here in America — inside of every family,” she added. “I think people need to wake up to that.”
Abuse & Neglect Under Private Equity Ownership
In 2019, KKR purchased BrightSpring Health Services for $1.3 billion, taking responsibility for more than 600 residential facilities. Since that time, according to the year-long BuzzFeed News investigation, some residents were found living in squalor and being denied basic medical care. Reporters also uncovered three deaths following lapses in care.
They also found serious staffing shortages, which were often tied to very low wages that drove workers to seek jobs elsewhere. Nurses quit because conditions were so bad they feared losing their licenses and residents dying, according to the report.
Reporters dug into hundreds of state inspection reports, internal company records, photographs, and videos, and conducted more than 170 interviews with regulators, families, and current and former workers. From March 2019 to the end of 2021, KKR’s facilities were cited for dangerous conditions at a rate well above the average, according to BuzzFeed News’ own analysis.
KKR’s response to the news outlet was that it invested $200 million the previous year in “quality first” initiatives and increased compensation to frontline workers by 28%. It also stated that the vast majority of care hours are “completely incident-free.”
Still, the KKR-controlled board of BrightSpring approved a plan to take on more than $1 billion in debt to buy new companies, secured by BrightSpring’s existing assets. The company paid more than $135 million a year in interest on its loans — money that might have helped to improve conditions in the group homes, BuzzFeed News wrote.
(Link to Kristina Fiore’s Article below)