Misinformation Confounds Political Progress

Misinformation Is Toxic

Misinformation has effectively upstaged truth and facts in our current news. It is especially prevalent in the political coverage we consume. We’ve grown accustomed to taunts and claims, competing forces, regarding fake news. Such coverage, I must admit, is tedious, even exhausting at times. Rather than being better informed, we are dissuaded from pursuing our own curiosity. The news makes us anxious and we either turn the news off or limit our exposure.

Misinformation is a toxin poisoning our perceptions as our sense of reality becomes negatively skewed.

The Misinformation Age

Cailin O’Connor and James Owen Weatherall addressed how false beliefs spread in their book, “The Misinformation Age.”

010919 Misinformation

George Musser, contributing editor for Scientific Americanand Nautilusmagazines, notes in his recommendation of the book:

An important book for an era of weaponized information. False beliefs aren’t due to stupidity or cognitive biases, but to the trust that all of us necessarily place in others. It has to be tackled at the systems level and the authors offer some provocative ideas for how.

Misinformation Is Not New

The authors quickly point out that misinformation is not really a new phenomena. It’s been with us throughout history, spoiling opportunities for advancement in myriad ways. People have died for their insight and nations have suffered mightily under the burden of simply being ill informed.

Misinformation Spreads False Beliefs

O’Connor and Weatherall reveal, in a well-researched and scientific manner, how ideas (truth or falsehoods) are propagated in our midst with little basis on fact. Truth is often ignored, mangled, ridiculed, dismissed, obscured, and even hidden. Money pays for false reporting and people are persuaded to espouse falsehoods for personal gain.

Yet we are shocked when we find we’ve been duped. We strive to reconstruct our paradigms that make sense of our world.

Misinformation Attacks The Truth

Truth is under siege more boldly than what we’ve experienced before. Glenn Kessler of The Washington Posttells us of: A year of unprecedented deception: Trump averaged 15 false claims a day in 2018. Such deception becomes standard fare from our current president.

Sadly, too, such toxic rhetoric becomes echoed by other news outlets and then countered by emphasizing consequences that often distract us from central issues. Such dysfunctional leadership should not give license for hyperbolic and condescending responses that further distort the issues. Both reactions distract from the truths of the day further feeding the misinformation burden.

Incredibly, as O’Connor and Weatherall point out, we tend to trust people rather than facts. We consider their credibility and our relationship to them. Money and power play a part. We seldom satisfy our curiosity by employing critical thinking and evaluating the facts.

Electing Presidents Fairly

This blog strives to bring attention and focus to one of the great social justice concerns of our nation: electing a president. Consider how much of our nation’s governance, and the consequences that governance imposes or allows, is affected by the presidency. We must take the selection process seriously and we must do it as well as we can.

The mechanism we use must be fair. It must include every voter. That means that every vote must be counted and every viable vote be represented in the results. The mechanism must encourage voter engagement. It must also make every state matter, recognizing that our nation is a republic. Neither our current system, employing the winner-takes-all approach, nor the National Popular Vote idea can rise to meet this standard.

Equal Voice Voting (EVV) adheres to these principles. It is not established to be politically partisan or to favor any political sentiment other than to ensure every voting citizen plays a part.

EVV Passes The Truth Test

Some say, however, that the idea is hard to comprehend (see The Equal Voice Voting formula). Others confuse the issue by including other concerns and do not realize EVV is only focused on presidential elections – not congressional elections, not gerrymandering, and not political financing.

Understandably, EVV can be daunting for it includes numbers and statistics. Many stop listening when such hurdles are presented. Yet, these numbers reveal much truth and tell many stories we need to realize. We must, however, set our reluctance aside and consider this election option.

O’Connor and Weatherall advise us that:

…when trying to solve a problem in which the evidence is probabilistic or statistical, it is essential to have a complete and unbiased sample. Focusing on only part of the available evidence is a good way to reach the wrong belief.

This is precisely why my book (see Making All Votes Count!) includes the analysis of 15 presidential elections spanning years from 1960 to 2016, more than half a century. One data point will not suffice. Even two or three election examples cannot encompass the concerns that need to be considered.

The analysis also included comparisons of what occurred in the presidential elections for every state as well as what could have happened if EVV had been used instead. These numbers are truth – our collective truth from our recent history. (Click here to see the first three chapters for free.)

Share The EVV Truth And Make A Difference

Misinformation may currently be in vogue in a very public manner. Especially at this time in our country’s political landscape, I urge you to be practical, fair, and smart. Consider all of the available facts – yes, even the numbers. Engage your critical thinking. Try not to be dissuaded with alternative facts that ignore (or hide) consequences dangerous for our future.

Share the truth of Equal Voice Voting, and this blog, with those you care about and those you trust and respect. Let’s make every vote count. In two years it may make a very significant difference!

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