The last election was unprecedented in America because of one main reason - Fake News. The Russians really did steal the election.
It's an unfortunate fact that humans are easily fooled. I've written about this many times. I can't get enough of the subject. I yearn to trust my thought processes more. There is a vast cash of scientific literature on the subject from trusted sources and many popular books like Flim Flam, The Believing Brain, and Thinking Fast and Slow to name just a few.
It's generally understood that more progressive types get their information from a broader and more numerous supply of sources, while more conservative types tend to stick with a few outlets they feel comfortable with. Conservatives tend to believe that their books, historical documents, elected officials, and institutions have most of the answers while progressives might feel their current understanding of things is more provisional. I don't want to insult conservatives, these are uncontroversial findings. And it should be obvious that the spectrum of belief in any group covers a wide range. The point is there are many people in the world, whether conservative or liberal, that don't have the background knowledge to contemplate every event or subject from first principles - even if you were more or less able to do so you probably wouldn't have the time. We all follow shortcuts in our thought processes and if we're lucky we become aware of when our ideas or beliefs are flawed or wrong.
Which brings me to what I'd like to share with you today. One of my favorite politics podcasts is "Decode DC". The host, Jimmy Williams, has been working in politics for a long time and gives a fair hearing of a wide range of quests covering everything "DC". He's got a good sense of humor and brings a refreshing lightness to a subject that for many of us can be maddening.
This week Clint Watts discusses how Russia is interfering with global democracy. These days with all the bad information on the Internet and Fake New being quoted all over the place it's easy to be confused and easy to feel like throwing up your hands and giving up on even trying to be well informed. But please, don't do that, that would be a big mistake. We need to inoculate ourselves from Fake News and bad information so that we can make good decisions about how to participate in our communities and what leaders to put our trust in.
I hope you listen to this episode of Decode DC and continue learning how you can become immune to bad information. Best of luck.
Episode 190: Russia is using you to destroy democracy
Russians are using your own media echo chamber to undermine your confidence in democracy. So says Clint Watts, a former FBI agent who has studied
Dave Shaw April 20, 2017
Russians are using your own media echo chamber to undermine your confidence in democracy. So says Clint Watts, a former FBI agent who has studied the phenomenon and recently testified before Congress. We speak with him about why Russia hackers and trolls are doing this, and why they’ve been more successful spreading their messages on the right than on the left.
The issue has gained in importance, even this week, as Reuters reported details of how a Russian government think tank plotted to affect the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The goals were to encourage voters to support candidates who would be friendlier to Russia and to undermine the legitimacy of the U.S. electoral system, according to the report.
While we are on the subject I thought you might also enjoy this:
YANSS 097 – What scam artists can teach us about the human brain