When people hunger for direction, they seek voices that speak the facts with authority and clarity. For the last year, they haven't gotten that.
Instead, a chorus of talking heads spouting conflicting messages has fueled media coverage that confused millions of viewers rather than shed light. The flood of misperceptions--driven by political agendas, individualism, and a disinformation campaign about vaccine safety, risks, and side effects--required state governments to create "myth-buster websites" to counter the confusion.
The nation's top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony S. Fauci has warned Americans for more than a year that the emergence of an "anti-science bias" contributes to COVID-19-related disease and death. This bias runs counter to America's historical reliance on public health information rooted in science, coordinated by federal and state officials. For the last year, we have actually faced two pandemics: COVID-19 and the pandemic of poor communication. The public's confidence in elected officials and scientists has been shaken as conflicting communications clearly made it more difficult to fight the disease.
Communicating about COVID-19--and convincing people to vaccinate--has been almost as difficult as overcoming its contagion. Traditionally, public education campaigns have been critical to fighting pandemics and...