Having shone a light on the range and depth of conspiracy theories that have gripped sections of American society in recent years, CNN politics and tech correspondent Donie O'Sullivan is in line for an Emmy award, America's prestigious annual television honours.
While he's outlined numerous stories of disinformation since the Covid outbreak, the April 2020 story of how US military reservist Maatje Benassi ended up at the centre of a patient-zero conspiracy theory after going to Wuhan for a military sports event is a prescient reminder of the effect of the online phenomenon on people's lives.
Our story from April 2020 about a conspiracy theory blaming an American woman for starting COVID-19 was nominated for an Emmy today. https://t.co/K7XpXAAhwy— Donie O'Sullivan (@donie) July 27, 2021
Speaking on the impact of the event on her life, as well as dealing with numerous baseless allegations, Benassi says: "It's like waking up from a bad dream and going into a nightmare, every day".
O'Sullivan also speaks to George Webb, the conspiracy theorist who has made the false claims. Webb cites hearsay when quizzed about the origins of his information - his source is 'someone saying' they worked at the hospital where Benassi supposedly received a Covid diagnosis.
O'Sullivan has been a rising star in CNN in recent times, but his coverage of the Capitol riots earlier this year, and affable broadcast personality, has captured the attention of the wider world.
He'll be celebrating this latest accomplishment with his loved ones: he's currently back in Ireland and hitting all his favourite haunts on his way home to Cahersiveen in Co Kerry.
This is going to be an Ireland stan account for the next few weeks. (Even more than normal). 🇮🇪 pic.twitter.com/bO6q0DH69T— Donie O'Sullivan (@donie) July 25, 2021