Posts in category 'coronavirus'

  • Grappling with Misinformation

    The fourth post in my Blogging for the Holidays series, a bit on the post-truth world we live in today.

    I decided to search for the term “post-truth” before I starting writing this entry, as I wanted to confirm that I was using the right language. That took me to the Wikipedia page on the topic where I was a bit surprised to discover the term was coined over five years ago to describe a phenomenon whose consequences we’re only beginning to grasp today. And even then the term was describing something that, for years, we had all seen claw it’s way into the world, even if we couldn’t name it.

    Facts. Truth. Reality. We used to collectively joke that the way you could tell someone was crazy or high was by whether or not they described the sky as blue. Today, it wouldn’t surprise me if there was some Telegram channel somewhere claiming the sky was actually red and that the United States was engaged in a massive psy-op to convince us otherwise.

    It feels like, in the last four or five years, the rate of erosion of our shared understanding of reality has only accelerated. The Internet has served as fertile ground for a rotten crop of lies and conspiracy theories, egged on by corrupt politicians who recognize the manipulative power of such things.

    But deep down I think there’s something more fundamental going on: I think people find themselves frustrated and bewildered by a world we don’t understand, and so they’re looking for certainty and simplicity in an increasingly uncertain, complicated, and rapidly changing world.

    And into that confusion has come misinformation peddlers and conspiracy theorists who’ve learned how to weaponize the Internet, allowing them to exploit the vulnerable for personal gain.

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