Project star Jan Fran's jab at anti-vax influencers: 'Leave that debate'

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·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
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Journalist and regular face on The Project, Jan Fran, has spent most of her media career 'calling bulls***' — her words! — on fake news, flimsy facts and misinformation in general.

Which makes her the perfect co-host of Question Everything, ABC's new hybrid comedy/current affairs panel with funnyman (and the brains behind Gruen) Wil Anderson.

Jan Fran wearing a yellow and orange flower print jumpsuit on the set of The Project. Photo: Channel 10.
The Project star Jan Fran is taking her mission against misinformation to the next level. Photo: Channel 10.

The program aims to tackle big topics such as climate change, international politics and, of course, Covid and sift the truth from the lies.

"I've been doing this stuff in my line of work for ages," the 36-year-old Sydneysider — born Jeannette Francis — tells Yahoo Lifestyle in an exclusive chat.

"A lot of the videos that I make or stories that I cover often have a lot to do with just questioning stuff that we keep seeing on the news and current affairs and just calling bulls*** on a lot of things," she adds.

In Jan's opinion, Question Everything has come at the right moment for Aussies, millions of whom are currently in lockdown with the world wide web as their main source of news.

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Jan Fran wearing a black and gold dress while holding a newspaper. Photo: supplied.
In this era of 'fake news,' Jan wants Aussies to Question Everything. Photo: supplied.

"Because we are at home and not really doing very much I think people are turning to the internet and social media and just wanting to get a gauge of what is happening out in the world.

"It feels like this is the right moment to try and dissect all the misinformation, disinformation, spin, exaggerations and clickbait out there."

The show also features a segment called 'JanSplaining' in which Jan unpacks a particularly controversial topic such as the term 'patient zero' and why it should no longer be used.

Jan admits that it's a 'massive responsibility' particularly when it comes to the pandemic which, being an unprecedented event, is a constant source of new information and thus opportunities for misinformation.

"It is a responsibility to get what you're saying [on the show] right, because misinformation does have real-life consequences," she says.

Consequences that include whether someone decides to attend an anti-lockdown rally or get the Covid vaccine or not, for example.

Leave it to the pros

And it's not just one culprit or source when it comes to spreading fake news, everyone can be involved whether knowingly or unknowingly, as Jan explains.

"The thing with misinformation is that it's so utterly ubiquitous and it filters down to your most private setting such as your friends' Whatsapp group and this ends up being quite a difficult thing to debunk.

"[Misinformation] is sort of everywhere and it's more subtle than you might think it is. Sometimes it can be somebody misspeaking or sometimes it can be somebody who's deliberately spreading something that's incorrect because they're profiting off of it."

Less subtle is a certain type of Instagram influencer, who often gets their start in reality TV and uses their newfound platform to share Covid conspiracies and anti-vax messaging.

To them, Jan says this: "Let's leave that debate to the professionals who have degrees in epidemiology, I think."

Question Everything airs Wednesdays at 8.30pm on ABC TV and ABC iview.

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