Multidisciplinary Center for Infectious Diseases (MCID)

Preparing the mainstream media for the next pandemic – understanding under which conditions conspiracy-related mainstream media content fosters conspiracy beliefs

Applicant: Prof. Dr. Silke Adam

Institute of Communication and Media Studies

Conspiracy theories tend to spread widely in times of crisis and the outbreak of Covid-19 is no exception. But only a few people are directly exposed to sites pushing such conspiracy theories. This project thus considers the possibility that mainstream media may play an unexpected role in strengthening conspiracies. We ask whether and for whom the consumption of different types of conspiracy-related mainstream media content triggers the development of conspiracy beliefs. By sharing our findings with practitioners, we aim to raise awareness of how they can best curb the spread of conspirational ideas.