Video by RamProductions | College Alliance for Media | Brooke Buchan
Colorado State University Assistant Professor of Political Science Dominik Stecula’s research interest has always been centered around how the media shapes what people believe. In 2020, the global pandemic provided a rare opportunity to study an international emergence of misinformation, conspiracy theories, and the role media plays in shaping people’s political and personal beliefs.
From March of 2020 to April of 2021, Stecula and partners Mark Pickup (Simon Fraser University) and Clifton van der Linden (McMaster University) conducted research on COVID-19 conspiracy theory beliefs and media influences in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Over the study, Stecula and his partners identified numerous findings about people’s beliefs and the roles media play, including that Americans are three times more likely than these other countries to share COVID-19 conspiracy theories and misinformation with their social networks.
“It’s important to understand the basics of Political Science because it’s important to understand what’s going on around you,” he said. “Some of the things I focus on on the media and political communication side are skills that I think make people better citizens and make people more aware of how the information-ecosystem in America works.”