Tiffany Dover Is Lifeless — podcast explores how a conspiracy concept gained traction

In December 2020 Tiffany Dover, a nurse supervisor from Tennessee, was interviewed by reporters shortly after receiving her first Covid vaccination. Then, dwell on tv, she fainted. A hearsay subsequently took maintain that Dover had died and the vaccine was responsible. Just a few days later, she gave one other tv interview saying she was high quality, however conspiracy theorists maintained the footage was faux, claiming it had been recorded earlier than her loss of life or that she had been changed by a lookalike. Since then, Dover has remained silent.

Initially of Tiffany Dover Is Lifeless, Brandy Zadrozny, an NBC journalist specialising in misinformation, units out to find if Dover is lifeless or alive. That is clearly a pointless train since we all know she is alive — it even says so within the podcast’s blurb. However Zadrozny is undeterred, trying to find paperwork associated to her loss of life (she finds none) and writing to her at residence and on the hospital in Chattanooga the place she works (her letters go unanswered). Finally she will get on a airplane together with her producer and embarks on a stake-out within the Chattanooga hospital automobile park (they fail to see her).

Zadrozny strikes on to the extra fascinating query of how the conspiracy concept gained traction. She reveals how footage of Dover fainting appeared on InfoWars, the disinformation web site based by Alex Jones, and subsequently turned up on Russian state tv and on channels in Austria and Hungary. On-line stories modified from a nurse fainting after having the vaccine to a nurse dying. Zadrozny explains how Dover “represents what this bigger phenomenon of misinformation is de facto about: a daily particular person whose life turns into a weapon in a world info battle”. The rumours of her loss of life, she provides, got here at a time of hope, when a vaccine grew to become accessible to fight Covid, but in addition a time of heightened nervousness.

It’s early days for the collection however the strategy feels odd. Zadrozny rapidly gleans from Dover’s colleagues that she doesn’t wish to be contacted — one hospital worker tells her how Dover and her household had been harassed on-line and in particular person. But right here Zadrozny is, lurking outdoors her workplace and her residence, and utilizing her title within the title of her podcast within the glibbest doable style. There are echoes right here of the 2017 podcast Missing Richard Simmons, through which a documentary-maker goes in quest of a reclusive TV persona who makes it clear he doesn’t wish to be discovered. Dover’s story is compelling, however there are methods of telling it with out intruding on the lifetime of a lady who clearly needs to remain out of sight.

There are additional tales of misinformation within the BBC’s Loss of life by Conspiracy, which seems on the case of Gary Matthews, who fell beneath the spell of pandemic-related conspiracy theories, till he examined constructive for Covid-19 and died.

apple.com; bbc.co.uk

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