Creation of Fear in an Online Environment

A Content Analysis of Public Reaction to Donald Trump’s Information Regarding COVID-19


  • Katie Cowan MacEwan University



This study examined public reactions on Twitter about Donald Trump’s messages regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, which created fear in the public, therefore promoting an increase in panic buying. A content analysis of 52 relevant tweets between March 16 and April 3 identified several themes of public reactions to the messages that were transmitted by Donald Trump about COVID-19, including: incompetence, harm, untrustworthiness, political agenda, misinformation, distraction, lack of empathy, and the dismissal of solving panic buying. The most prevalent theme was the incompetence of Donald Trump, which created fear; therefore panic buying increased among the public.