Truth won’t fix the problem: experts on fighting the misinformation crisis in America

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Millions of Americans seem to disagree in early 2021 about one of their democracy’s most fundamental facts: that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election. The fallout from Donald Trump’s frequent, baseless accusations of voter fraud will come in many waves, analysts who study misinformation say, even if Trump eventually cedes control and leaves the White House.

And, they warn, there is no fast or easy way to solve this crisis.

That’s because merely repeating the truth would not do anything to change anyone’s mind when it comes to coping with misinformation. In the short term, Trump’s misleading allegations of election fraud have undermined Biden’s ability to counter the coronavirus pandemic. “If only 20 percent of the population says, ‘You’re not my president, I’m going to double down on my opposition to the mask,’ or ‘I’m going to keep having parties over the holidays,’ then it becomes even less likely that we’re going to get this thing under control,”If only 20 percent of the population says,’ You’re not my president, I’m going to double down on my opposition to the mask,’ or ‘I’m going to keep having parties over the holidays,’ then it becomes even less likely that we’re going to get this thing under control. “Don’t fuel the fire”: misinformation experts on how Biden can cope with Trump’s election liesLonger-term, the falsehoods of the president could also weaken Biden’s overall capacity to rule, just as Trump’s other false assertion spread by the racist “birther” conspiracy theory helped fuel political resistance to the presidency of Barack Obama.

And the harm to the fundamental faith of Americans in their democracy may have consequences far beyond electoral politics. “What does it look like when we don’t have a shared sense of reality?” said Claire Wardle, executive director of First Draft, an organization that researches and battles misinformation. We have seen more conspiracy theories enter the mainstream. There are an increasing number of people who do not believe in a society’s vital infrastructure. The current misinformation crisis in America, Wardle said, is the result of more than two decades of polluting the knowledge environment of the world. The proliferation of social media disinformation is part of that story, but so is the proliferation of social media disinformation.

A conventional top-down model is still adopted by mass media: the news is generated and distributed to viewers through an authoritative source. In comparison, the right-wing media environment that has developed through talk radio acts as a network of communicating media personalities, “a community telling stories to its own community,” Wardle said. Trump built on this and accepted what Kat Kat said. Not only did Trump make his audience vulnerable to false narratives of voter fraud, he encouraged them to make them up… and then fed them back with those false claims,”Trump has not only made his audience susceptible to false narratives about voter fraud, he has inspired them to make them up … and then fed those false claims back to them,” In reality, participatory disinformation could be “stickier” and more successful than “top-down propaganda,” Starbird argued, partly because of the “positive reinforcement” Trump supporters see their “‘discoveries’ repeated by their media & political celebrities.” repeated by their media & political celebrities. If their networks proved to be perfect environments for creating and monetizing participatory disinformation, social media companies w w w. Even then, Wardle noticed that just a few of his tweets were flagged, while Trump sent hundreds of other tweets circulating the same tale and the media continued to cover his claims, generating a clear national narrative of electoral fraud, despite attempts at fact-checking.

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