Creating a COVID-19 Commission on Public Health Misinformation

Authors: Blair Levin and Ellen Goodman


To better prepare for future public-health emergencies, the next president should establish several high-level COVID Commissions—modeled on the 9/11 Commission—to examine our nation’s response to the 2020 pandemic. One Commission should focus on public health communication and messaging.

The next president should task this Commission with assessing the information about the pandemic: what was made publicly available, how the information affected our societal response, and what should be done to limit the impact of false and dangerously misleading information moving forward.

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About the Authors

Blair Levin has worked at a high level at the intersection of broadband policy and capital markets for the past 25 years. From 1993–1997, Levin served as Chief of Staff to FCC Chairman Reed Hundt. In 2009, Levin co-led the technology transition team for President-elect Obama. He returned to government service from 2009–2010 to oversee the development of the National Broadband Plan for the United States. Levin is currently an equity analyst at New Street Research and a non-resident Senior Fellow of the Metropolitan Policy Project of the Brookings Institution.

Ellen P. Goodman (@ellgood) is a professor of law at Rutgers Law School. She co-directs and co-founded the Rutgers Institute for Information Policy & Law (RIIPL), is a Senior Fellow at the German Marshall Fund, and previously served as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar with the Federal Communications Commission. A recipient of Ford and Knight Foundation grants, she has published widely on media and telecommunications law, smart cities and algorithmic governance, freedom of expression, and advertising law. Goodman was previously a partner at Covington & Burling LLC, where she practiced information technology law.