Tiffany Dover was a nurse from Chattanooga, Tennessee. She was one of the first to publicly receive the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer. During her televized press conference following her shot, she passed out. Conspiracy theories immediately sprang up around the world. But were any of them true?
NBC reporter Brandy Zadrozny strikes out to debunk the conspiracies in the podcast Truthers: Tiffany Dover is dead. The anti-vaccine conspiracies have ranged from mild, such as the vaccine causing Dover to faint, to insane, such as the Pope and the government conspiring to inject a secret Catholic potion into everyone. Zadrozny investigates everything to debunk it.
The podcast begins with a deep dive into the world of conspiracy theories and the “truthers.” Zadrozny discusses the conspiracy theories around COVID-19 vaccines and the online truther community in general.
Zadrozny decides to find Tiffany Dover and stakes out the hospitals in Chattanooga. She searches through medical examiner and police department records. Eventually, Zadrozny finds the real Tiffany Dover – who is still alive.
Episode three is all about the people who spread falsehoods and conspiracy theories. Zadrozny meets with a prominent anonymous truther with a now-defunct blog, who considers himself a citizen journalist.
Overall, Zadrozny uses an investigative approach to this story. She covers the world of the internet and is no stranger to the fringes who spread fake news on both sides of the political spectrum. She feels it is important to debunk the conspiracies around COVID-19 vaccines.
Some of the most poignant parts of the podcast involve Zadrozny staking out the hospitals in her hunt to find Tiffany Dover. She spends a day and a night sitting in a parking lot with a pair of binoculars, stalking every nurse who comes and goes.
This is a level of determination that many do not have. It illustrates the important work journalists still do, especially in the world of conspiracy theories that spread across the world like fire. Zadrozny tackles the issue knowing facts and evidence will be her most important tools, so she sets out to gather these professionally and calmly.
This is an important issue today. From foreign meddling in US elections in 2016, to COVID-19 conspiracy theories, we’ve seen how misinformation and disinformation can have a direct effect on society. Here in Canada, there was the truck convoys of early 2022. War in Ukraine, fueled largely by Kremlin propaganda and lies, is another example. Journalists such as Zadrozny are a direct counter to this. With training and professionalism and the budget of NBC behind her, she can and does completely debunk the conspiracies around the death of Tiffany Dover.