Inside the ‘Misinformation’ Wars – The New York Times


This points to the weakness of the new focus on misinformation: it is a technological solution to a problem about politics as much as technology. Right-wing populists provoked by new social media lie a lot, and further expand the truth. But just as American reporters discovered Donald Trump’s fans questioning him on camera, his audience was mostly joking. And many of the hurtful things he said do not have to be false they were deeply ugly to half the country, including most of the people who run news organizations and universities.

It is very convenient to calculate an information crisis if there is one thing we can do better than politics, it is information. Only responsible journalists and technicians. If you explain how wrong Trump’s statements are, of course citizens will come around. But these well-meaning communications experts knew what was going on with those who liked him, laughed about it and voted for him, but even if he had gone “too far”.

Harper’s Magazine recently released a broad page against “Big Disinfo”, a think tank that raises money to focus on the topic, offering a simple solution to the political crisis that transcends the easy explanation and exaggerates the power of Facebook, which, ultimately, served Facebook. The author, Joseph Bernstein, seems to believe that journalists and academics who specialize in exposing cases of misinformation have a particular claim to the truth about themselves. “No matter how well-intentioned these professionals are, they have no special access to the fabric of reality,” he wrote.

In fact, I find that many who are concerned about our information diets are humble enough to be reassured about how far the new field of misinformation research is going to take us. Mrs. Donovan called it “a new field of data journalism” but acknowledged that “this area needs to be better understood in determining what is true or false.” The Aspen report acknowledges that “there are no ‘truth arbiters’ in a free society.”

Sewell Chan, editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune and one of the participants in the Harvard syllabus, said he did not think there was a political bias in the program, and that it “helped me understand new ways of transmitting pranks and lies.”

Like the word “fake news”, misinformation is a loaded and somewhat subjective word, “he said.” I’m very comfortable with accurate explanations.

In my own journal I feel the pressure and traction of the information environment, as well as the urge to evaluate a claim rather than its formal qualities who says it and why say it. Last April, for example, i Has tweeted that I saw the anti-Chinese Republicans around Donald Trump as a tricky way to put forward the idea that the Govt-19 had been leaked from the lab. There were plenty of informative red flags. But below the media critique (I’m sorry you’ve come so far in the media column to read this) was a very interesting screaming contest (which used the word “misinformation” liberally). Now the status of that story is that scientists’ understanding of the origins of Covit-19 is developing and hotly debated, and we can not solve it on Twitter.


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