WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ The United States is not only battling a pandemic, but also the spread of disinformation from its foreign adversaries.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Russia, China and Iran are using the pandemic as an opportunity to spread false reports online on the coronavirus to stoke fear and confusion among Americans.
“People all around the world should ensure that where they turn to for information is a reliable source,” Pompeo said.
Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, said the spread of false reports on the coronavirus is coming from both inside and outside of the country.
“What we should do is get the facts out as best we can,” Reed said. “To try to cast the United States as the villain and China as the hero – that’s not accurate at all.”
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, said the misinformation is par for the course in the countries that are providing the false reports.
“We know that the leaders are going to put a spin on it to serve their own interests,” Cardin said.
State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said China has gone so far as to blame the United States for the virus.
“The world needs facts, the world needs to understand what’s going on,” Ortagus said. “We will continue to call out the Chinese Communist party when they spread conspiracy theories online instead of taking responsibility for their own actions at the beginning of this pandemic.”
Michael Fuchs with the Center for American Progress said as the world battle the virus, health officials need facts and the best defense mechanism for the world is the truth.
“That is the most powerful weapon we have right now,” Fuchs said.