WASHINGTON — Maria Teresa Kumar was surprised to find out two weeks ago that her mother, who runs an elder care facility in Northern California, was going to forgo a Covid-19 vaccine.
Kumar, the founding president of Voto Latino and an MSNBC contributor, wanted to know why her mom, Mercedes Vegvary, would take such a risk. The answer: a Spanish-language disinformation campaign, shared peer to peer, that portrayed the vaccine as a technology unsafe for human use.
In effort to combat campaigns like the one that reached her mother — and more explicitly political messaging — Kumar has teamed up with progressive group Media Matters’ Angelo Carusone to launch a $22 million new “Latino Anti-Disinformation Lab,” the pair told NBC News exclusively. The campaign will launch this week.