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The structured inequalities built into our sociotechnical institutions shape access to knowledge. During the COVID-19 pandemic, knowledge acquisition was shaped by news sources, class, and race. Through analysis of nationally representative data using logistic models, this study reveals how the use of different news sources differentially shapes access to accurate knowledge about COVID-19 topics for different demographics. Those who rely on informal and local news sources have the largest knowledge gaps about these topics, while those who seek information from national or international news outlets and politicians have the most accurate knowledge. Race and class influence knowledge of government operations, public health, and science of COVID-19. In particular, Black people, people with less education, and those with lower incomes are significantly less likely to have accurate knowledge about COVID-19, all else equal. These findings have implications for knowledge dissemination that impacts public health, as well as for how news media target different audiences in an increasingly fractured landscape.


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