‘This Is America’ and the Ambiguity of Memes
July 2, 2020 by

Misleading memes are a dime a dozen, to use a phrase originating in the 1800s (though today they’re not only free but available by the tens of thousands). People who spend time on social media interact with them constantly, usually in the context of reading, endorsing, and sharing them. Less often they’re refuted or mocked, …

Christopher Dorner, Eyewitness Testimony, and Mental Illness
June 18, 2020 by

Spree killer and ex-police officer Christopher Dorner was recently mentioned in a standup comedy piece by Dave Chapelle. If the name sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because Dorner killed four people and wounded three others in mid-February 2013, his victims including police and civilians in the Los Angeles area. The manhunt for Dorner over the course …

‘Plandemic’ Asks Questions—But Won’t Answer Them
May 21, 2020 by

Earlier this month, a YouTube video for an (apparently) upcoming documentary titled Plandemic was released by Mikki Willis (credited onscreen as “father/filmaker” [sic]). The video features a lengthy interview with virologist Judy Mikovits, who offers scattershot conspiracy-laden assertions about the “truth” behind the COVID-19 pandemic, prefaced by claims of having been framed for a crime …

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COVID-19 Pseudoauthorities
May 13, 2020 by

This is the fifth in a series of original articles on the COVID-19 pandemic by the Center for Inquiry as part of its Coronavirus Resource Center, which was created to help the public address the crisis with evidence-based information. Please check back periodically for updates and new information.  As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, so does …

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The COVID-19 ‘Empty Hospital’ Conspiracies
April 29, 2020 by

This is the fourth in a series of original articles on the COVID-19 pandemic by the Center for Inquiry as part of its Coronavirus Resource Center, created to help the public address the crisis with evidence-based information. Please check back periodically for updates and new information.  There are countless coronavirus conspiracy claims circulating, ranging from …

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A New Resource to Inoculate Against Coronavirus Misinformation
March 25, 2020 by

The public is being inundated by misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic at every level, from blatant internet scams to the false claims of the president of the United States. The Center for Inquiry, as the foundational institution for skeptical inquiry into extraordinary claims of pseudoscience, religion, and the paranormal, is bringing our unique expertise to …

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Fear Itself: COVID-19, Media Literacy, and Social Media Distancing
March 25, 2020 by

This is the first in a series of original articles on the COVID-19 pandemic by the Center for Inquiry as part of its COVID-19 Resource Center, created to help the public address the crisis with evidence-based information. Please check back periodically for updates and new information.  There’s a natural—almost Pavlovian—tendency to follow the news closely, …

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Sylvia Browne’s Bogus Coronavirus Prophecies
March 24, 2020 by

In recent weeks there’s been many rumors, myths, and misinformation about the current coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19. One of the most curious is the recent resurrection of a posthumous prediction by psychic Sylvia Browne. In her 2008 book End of Days, Browne predicted that “In around 2020 a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe, …

Sylvia Browne’s Non-Psychic, Non-Coronavirus Prediction
March 12, 2020 by

In recent weeks there’s been plenty of rumors, myths, and misinformation about the newest coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19. I’ve written several pieces on the topic, tackling both intentional and accidental bogus information. Some of the most pernicious, of course, involves misinformation about healthcare decisions (such as fake cures), but there are others. One of the most …

‘Birds of Prey’ Misogyny: When Clickbait Harms Women
March 9, 2020 by

Recently a headline widely shared on social media decried poor reviews of the new film Birds of Prey and blamed it on male film critics hating the film for real or perceived feminist messages (and/or skewed expectations; it’s not clear). The article, by Sergio Pereira, was headlined “Birds of Prey: Most of the Negative Reviews …