CONTAGION Teaches Us How Fake News Can Play a Role in the Spread of a Virus
By Jenny Frye, Contributing Writer
The 2011 movie CONTAGION depicted what could happen during a global outbreak. Now in 2020 with the worldwide coronavirus outbreak, the movie is more significant than ever, as VOX commentator Alissa Wilkinson writes.
CONTAGION shows how a virus can spread from country to country and how everyone from normal civilians to important officials can be affected. The movie not only depicts what could happen scientifically as a virus spreads, but also how paranoia and fake news spreads throughout communities.
CONTAGION highlights how misinformation can cause chaos leading to societal breakdown and panic. In the 2011 movie, Alan Krumwiede (portrayed by Jude Law) is a freelance journalist who suggests conspiracy theories about the virus to his audience. With his platform, Krumwiede creates more fear and disruption in a community already struggling with the disease.
Additionally, his conspiracies that the government is “withholding information” causes mistrust in authorities leaving people to feel confused and act out in ways that are detrimental to their health. Another character in CONTAGION a CDC director named Cheever believes that Krumwiede’s fear tactics are “far more dangerous than the disease.”
The information from the CONTAGION movie is very valuable today with thee outbreak in the coronavirus, Wilkinson says. With the use of social media, TV, and internet; communication is quick and can spread like wildfire.
Additionally, not all information is correct, and many comments found on Instagram and Twitter are merely opinions or false facts. When misinformation spreads on the internet it can make people fearful, even when they haven’t encountered the virus. The spread of false news can mimic a real-life virus and has major impact.
As of January, CONTAGION has been in the top 20 movies rented on the iTunes movie charts. Now in March, the movie is number 8 on the charts. Many people are watching CONTAGION for insight of what to do during a global outbreak. Besides the entertainment elements of the movie there are many takeaways on fake news and paranoia.
According to CNN’s live update on the coronavirus, about 108,000 people have been infected with the coronavirus, with 3,800 killed. Movieguide® will continue to pray for for those who have been affected by the coronavirus.
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