Trib's Exclusive COVID Report | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
We need your help.

Newspapers and media companies nationwide are closing or suffering mass layoffs since the coronavirus impacted all of us starting in March. City Weekly's entire existence is directly tied to people getting together in groups--in clubs, restaurants, and at concerts and events--which are the industries most affected by new coronavirus regulations.

Our industry is not healthy. Yet, City Weekly has continued publishing thanks to the generosity of readers like you. Utah needs independent journalism more than ever, and we're asking for your continued support of our editorial voice. We are fighting for you and all the people and businesses hardest hit by this pandemic.

You can help by making a one-time or recurring donation on, which directs you to our Galena Fund 501(c)(3) non-profit, a resource dedicated to help fund local journalism. It is never too late. It is never too little. Thank you.

News » Hits & Misses

Trib's Exclusive COVID Report

The Disinformation War, Conspiracy Culture



Trib's Exclusive COVID Report
The Salt Lake Tribune did indeed launch its Sunday edition with a barnburner of a story about the state's so-called COVID-19 strategy. Dubbed an "exclusive," the paper detailed the internal battle between the Governor's Office of Management and Budget and the Utah Department of Health, uncovered through public records requests. If anything, the story highlighted the conflict between protecting the public and protecting the economy. It's something then-Gov. Herbert and incoming Gov. Cox have yet to figure out, although it appears they leaned heavily into the economy. If you felt former GOMB Director Kristen Cox's angst as the state simply reacted to rising COVID cases, then it should be apparent that a state, if a national, strategy would have helped. As for the Trib, we'll see if they can keep up the "exclusive" pace. For now, the reading public is still trying to digest its digital roll-out.


The Disinformation War
Poor Burgess Owens. Apparently, there is no way to teach the man math, or the lessons of American democracy. Utah's newly minted congressman plans to join other right-wing nuts challenging the Electoral College, because he can't fathom how Joe Biden got more votes in 2020 than Barrack Obama in 2008. Then, Obama got a total count of 69.5 million votes, standing as the largest tally ever won by a presidential candidate—until now. Biden, admittedly no Obama, got 81.2 million popular votes and 306 Electoral votes to Trump's 74.2 million and 232. Owens might just consider why. The election brought out voters like never before—because of the love or hate of Trump. Let's take Burgess back to 2016, when Hillary Clinton got more popular votes than the Trump-man, who was arguably helped by a campaign of disinformation and won the Electoral College. And yet, her supporters did not disparage or dispute the process. This is not about believing the election was rigged; it's about understanding that it was not.


Conspiracy Culture
Meanwhile, the conservative conspiracy rage threatens not only public safety but more importantly logic, education and science. In November, conspiracy theorists tried to get into a Provo hospital to "prove" that COVID was a fake, KUTV 2News reported. And the Deseret News, in its inaugural Sunday digital edition, ran an in-depth story about "the Great Reset," an initiative of the World Economic Forum, which, because it calls for global cooperation, sparked fear and certainty that change will bring about the End Times and of course, socialism writ large. The University of Utah's philosophy department delved into "The strange world of COVID-19 conspiracy theories," as history professor Robert Goldberg said the problem is that "a significant portion of Americans" see professionals and collaboration as suspicious. With Utah culture steeped in magical thinking, conspiracies are likely to grow with every challenge the public faces.