In the op-ed for The Atlantic this Wednesday, McKay Coppins contends that President Trump has been on a mission to create an alternative reality ever since the coronavirus became a reality here in the U.S. According to Trump, COVID-19 poses the same threat as the regular flu, and the media coverage of the story is a "hoax."
Now that health officials warning about the situation can no longer be ignored, Trump is continuing to play down the seriousness of the epidemic, and he's getting help from the same multi-platform propaganda apparatus he’s relying on for reelection in November, according to Coppins.
"The administration’s response to the outbreak has drawn some comparisons to the autocratic regimes in China and Iran, where information about the virus was tightly controlled to the detriment of the local populations," Coppins writes. "But what Trump has actually shown is that he doesn’t need to silence the Centers for Disease Control or censor the press to undermine politically inconvenient information about a public health crisis—he can simply use his presidential bullhorn to drown it out."
According to scholars, this brand of disinformation is called “censorship through noise," which is intended to "bombard people with so many contradictory claims, conspiracy theories, what-abouts, and distortions that they simply throw up their hands in confusion and exhaustion."
All one has to do is wade through the MAGA ecosystem to see how the tactic is working, Coppins writes.
"To the president and his allies, it doesn’t really matter that all these narrative threads don’t perfectly cohere. Muddying the waters is the name of the game, and it’s a strategy that’s carried Trump through numerous political battles over the years."
Read her full op-ed over at The Atlantic.