Protect Yourself from 2020 Disinformation Propaganda


there is going to be a staggering amount of
disinformation spread around the 2020 election. This includes the primary, this includes the
general election. Once we have a democratic presidential nominee. Now I do my best to point out specific instances
of disinformation and try to debunk them on the show. So for example, yesterday on the show, we
looked at this, uh, a sort of meme spread by James Woods and Charlie Kirk and others
about Bernie Sanders and his tax plan and his healthcare plan. But we can’t rely on debunkings in media because
we just simply can’t keep up. I mean, it takes five seconds to tweet out,
disinformation, and then it took me 10 minutes to debunk it for you and explain to you all
the ways in which it was wrong and the way Bernie’s tax plan will actually work. So we all need strategies to protect ourselves
from the disinformation instead of hoping that you come across someone else. Debunking disinformation. There’s a new report from Stanford which says
that we’re going to see a lot of the same techniques from 2016 used spread disinformation
in 2020 plus. There will be new, more sophisticated techniques
that have surfaced over the last four years, and they prey on this role. Emotional reactions. That is one of the main ways that this information
spreads, which is you see something and your, your emotional reaction makes you immediately
share it before you’ve actually vetted what it is that you are sharing. So the acronym to remember is caps. You know like Trump uses cap slok during a
lot of his tweets. Caps is the acronym. I used this when I was teaching at Boston
college in the media literacy section of the class. And what this means is critically analyze
primary sources. Caps, critically analyze primary sources. It’s extremely simple, but it is pretty all
encompassing. If you apply it correctly, you only need to
ask two questions whenever you’re presented with any claim in media. Am I looking at a primary source and have
I critically analyzed it? So as an example, if we look at that viral
disinformation tweet from yesterday that was spread by James Woods and Charlie Kirk and
other right-wingers. So first of all, we look through it and look
at is anything here a primary source? So when the thing says, Bernie said at the
debate, he wants a $15 minimum wage. Is it a primary source when it’s an unsighted,
uh, Twitter image sent out by James Woods? No. So go to Bernie’s website and find it. Now it happens that, that, that is accurate. Bernie does want a $15 minimum wage. Then you look at the numbers. Well, $15 an hour times 40 hours a week times
52 weeks a year. Critically analyze it. Does everyone work 40 hours in their job? No. Does everyone work 52 weeks in a year? No. So there are holes there. Once you critically analyze it, Bernie wants
free healthcare and said, raise taxes to 52% on anyone making over $29,000. Am I looking at a primary source with Bernie’s
tax tables? No, I’m not. Go to Bernie’s website. Find his actual marginal tax tables. And you will see that if you are in $29,000,
you’re not in the 52% marginal tax bracket. You need to earn $10 million per year to get
to Bernie’s 52% marginal tax bracket. You can also simply apply critical thinking
and say, does it pass the sniff test that someone earning 29 grand a year would be paying
52% marginal tax rate? And the answer is of course no. So a very quick analysis of that meme, uh,
with the, with the sort of paradigm of caps critically analyze primary sources tells us
we are looking at non primary sources. It’s an unsourced tweet from a right wing
celebrity. You are completely lacking critical analysis. Uh, if you simply accept it and that’s the
only way that you fall for it. Now, if you want to look at more detailed
ways of for protecting yourself from disinformation propaganda, there are many strategies for
keeping emotions under control. When you see information, how to corroborate
it, evaluating whether conclusions that you are being told follow from the premises, actually
follow from the premises. But you can Google that. Google how to protect yourself from persuasion
propaganda, how to protect yourself from disinformation. There will be plenty of reading, but absent
all of that, always refer to when you see that tweet, when you see that Facebook post
from your right wing uncle, when you see Trump, say it at a rally caps, critically analyze
primary sources. Uh, once you have identified the primary sources,
and we will all be much, much better off

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