Press Room

Experts Available: A Critical/Cultural Look at COVID-19

November 3, 2020
Experts Available
Health, Mass Media, Political, Race/Class/Gender

In Spectra, the online magazine of the National Communication Association, Communication experts address President Trump’s rhetoric about the COVID-19 pandemic, the “infodemic” associated with the pandemic, the hidden challenges facing communities because of health disparities, and anti-Asian racism associated with the pandemic. 

America’s Horror Story: Trump and the Invisible Enemy 

Kendall R. Phillips, Professor of Communication & Rhetorical Studies, Syracuse University

In this essay, Kendall R. Phillips addresses Trump’s disavowal of responsibility and “disjointed rhetorical response.” In particular, Phillips focuses on how Trump has framed the virus as an “invisible enemy” and how this characterization relates to American horror films.  

Source Credibility During an Infodemic: The Increasing Roles of Experience in Credible Communication 

LaKesha N. Anderson, Director of Academic and Professional Affairs at the National Communication Association; Instructor, Johns Hopkins University’s Communication MA Program

Christy J.W. Ledford, Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Anderson and Ledford tackle the current “infodemic.” They explain why Communication scholars have conceptualized credibility as trust, expertise, and experience, and how different individuals balance these factors when evaluating information about COVID-19. 

Dear Media: Tell More Stories About Health Disparities  

Kallia O. Wright, Associate Professor, Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies, Illinois College

Wright argues that there are few media representations of health disparities, including the higher COVID-19 infection and mortality rates in communities of color. Wright argues that these stories must be covered and offers advice for journalists looking to do so. 

COVID-19, Anti-Asian Racism, and the Racialization of Epidemics  

Shaunak Sastry, Associate Professor, Department of Communication, University of Cincinnati

Zhuo Ban, Associate Professor, Department of Communication, University of Cincinnati 

Sastry and Ban tackle the COVID-19 pandemic from the unique perspective of being on sabbatical and quarantined in Nanjing, China, when the pandemic began. They outline acts of anti-Asian racism in the United States and abroad, as well as racialization of epidemics more broadly. 


To arrange interviews with the authors, contact Grace Hébert at 202-534-1104 or

About the National Communication Association

The National Communication Association (NCA) advances Communication as the discipline that studies all forms, modes, media, and consequences of communication through humanistic, social scientific, and aesthetic inquiry. NCA serves the scholars, teachers, and practitioners who are its members by enabling and supporting their professional interests in research and teaching. Dedicated to fostering and promoting free and ethical communication, NCA promotes the widespread appreciation of the importance of communication in public and private life, the application of competent communication to improve the quality of human life and relationships, and the use of knowledge about communication to solve human problems. NCA supports inclusiveness and diversity among our faculties, within our membership, in the workplace, and in the classroom; NCA supports and promotes policies that fairly encourage this diversity and inclusion.

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