Disinformation Can Make the Nation Sick

Disinformation surrounds us

It is not news to report that we are in the midst of a sea of disinformation. We know that. What’s more, disinformation does not emanate from one source. The hurry to be first with the breaking news often causes our knee-jerk reactions to accept something that isn’t true.

Here’s a recent example.

Disinformation about Trump’s hospitalization was abundant

100520 Disinformation

Maeve Reston of CNN reported on the confusing reports regarding Trump’s recent hospitalization for Covid-19:

An attempt by President Donald Trump’s doctor to reassure the public about Trump’s condition following his infection with Covid-19 only created widespread confusion and concerns about transparency on Saturday, as a source familiar with the President’s health told reporters that the next 48 hours will be critical in determining how he fares.

Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, told White House pool reporters after the briefing from his doctors:

The President’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We are still not on a clear path to a full recovery.

Ms. Reston points out how more news conflicted with earlier reports:

Moments earlier on Saturday morning, the President’s physician, Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley, had offered an upbeat assessment of the President’s condition stating that he was feeling well, that he had been “fever-free” for 24 hours and that his symptoms – which included an “extremely mild cough,” nasal congestion and fatigue – “are resolving and improving.” Conley was evasive about when and if Trump had received supplemental oxygen, saying, “He is not on oxygen.”

But a source close to the White House said Trump has received supplemental oxygen since his illness began. Trump “definitely has had oxygen,” the source said, adding that it was on Friday.

Good intentions are a start to silence disinformation

And on it goes. Which perspective is truth? Which is disinformation?

Disinformation adds a lot of stress to a tense situation. Given that 2020 has been more stressful than what the nation has experienced in decades, we not only need answers, we need reliable sources for our news.

Perhaps there is, at least, good intentions emerging in that regard.

Shepard Smith, former Fox News anchor, is starting a new position with CNBC, The News with Shepard Smith. He tells us it’s not his job to report his opinion. As reported in The Oregonian:

In his final Fox News show, Smith said, “Even in our currently polarized nation, it’s my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalists will thrive.”

Mr. Smith recently added:

Our mission, down one lane, is to cut through the noise. There’s so much disinformation polluting the discourse. Lies, half-truths and distractions are, I believe, confusing and sometimes injurious to society. We will stay focused on the facts.

A guide is available to help us recognize disinformation

I was recently pointed to a handy guide to help recognize disinformation – a tool to help keep us sane. Sharon Hurley Hall reports in a blog on Website Planet, Identifying Fake New in the Time of the Presidential Election – Ultimate Guide to Avoid Panic and Indifference. She says of the effects of fake news and disinformation:

This is a particularly dangerous trend in the era of the Presidential election. It’s often difficult to know candidates’ true motive, actual voter turnout, what concerns matter people the most.

The guide topics include:

  • The definition and types of fake news
  • The history of fake news
  • How fake news spreads
  • The psychology of fake news
  • Fake news statistics
  • Fake news in different digital marketing genres
  • Where you’re likely to find fake news
  • How to recognize and report fake news

The first topic, as an example, provides essential clarification:

The OECD Forum Network defines fake news as:

… journalism or information that either deliberately or unintentionally misleads people and distorts reality by spreading false information, hoaxes, propaganda, or misrepresentation of facts.

The Cambridge Dictionary’s fake news definition is:

… false stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence political views or as a joke.

And Projekt Neptun defines fake news as:

… the distribution of false or questionable information that is either completely invented or sold as factually correct news.

Disinformation will be on full display on election night

In four weeks, we will have voted. These next few weeks and months promise to be dangerous times because of the “noise” we endure, the disinformation that comes at us on an hourly basis. We must be careful of what we take in, of what we come to believe, and what we share with others.

On election night, you will see displayed over and over again, the common Electoral College maps showing each state colored either blue or red to designated a win for Biden or Trump, respectively. If you sense that something does not seem right with what you see, you are not losing your sanity. The maps will not reflect how the nation votes. You will see disinformation touted as truth.

You will witness the national travesty of vote suppression. It occurs in every presidential election. Every presidential election enacts the Winner-Takes-All (WTA) approach wherein ballots cast in the minority of a state, do not matter! These votes are cast aside and are never considered by the Electoral College mechanism. A winner is identified as tens of millions of votes are cast aside and effectively silenced.

Equal Voice Voting (EVV) eliminates WTA and makes all votes matter! Instead of ignoring some 46% of the ballots cast (63 million votes in 2016), EVV can reveal the truth of the elections.

We can have more truth in the 2024 election reporting!

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By Jerry Spriggs and the Equal Voice Voting Team