Covid deniers can "go online and find facts to suit their opinion," says James O'Brien caller

28 October 2020, 12:59

By Fiona Jones

This caller says truth denial is only getting worse in the UK as people can "go online and find facts to suit their opinion", as people accuse scientists of exaggerating about Covid.

There have been over 60,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the UK, with a daily death toll of 200 being reached weeks earlier than feared by chief medical officer Sir Chris Whitty.

These two milestones have bolstered calls for a national “circuit breaker” in mid-December to halt an exponential rise in cases.

Yet, media outlets and certain groups of people claim the scientists are "exaggerating" about Covid as a form of scaremongering, another subculture of conspiracy theorists to add to anti-vaxxers and climate change deniers, James O'Brien pointed out.

Caller James told LBC that his own mother has joined the conspiracist school of thought; despite being a former NHS nurse, she has told James' pregnant sister not to get her baby vaccinated.

He said: "The problem is that we live in a time now where you don't have to go to a religious house of worship or somebody down the street to get radicalised, you can radicalise yourself online.

"You don't even need to talk to anyone else on a chat room, you can do it via a YouTube algorithm or Facebook algorithm."

For his mother in particular, he said that she has fallen down this conspiracy rabbit hole due and will not be told she is wrong.

James O'Brien posited that if people can be tempted into "positions of idiocy, you can tempt them out of it."

The caller was less positive: "I worry that you can't, I really really think we're living through a time of really big cultural shift and I think this is a harbinger of real big problems for us."

He said people who have decided to believe conspiracy won't listen: "You get an idea in your head, you go online and find the facts to suit your opinion."