Spreading "misinformation" and "conspiracy theories"... This is a phrase I am hearing/reading more often these days.

in Informationwar12 days ago (edited)

I've on more than occasion lately encountered people referring to how we need to stop the spread of "misinformation" and "conspiracy theories". It has in some ways been weaponized. If a political agency controlled by politicians tell certain segments of the population something is true many people still respond as if it is fact. I don't understand completely why they still act this way with all the times these entities, politicians, and celebrities have been caught lying, or in contradictions. I suspect it is a little bit of what we know of as cognitive dissonance. It is much easier to go along with what we know. It is easier and more comfortable to continue to view the world as we always have. We are familiar with these things and we know how to navigate them.

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What if it is a lie that you are following for the sake of comfort and because it is easy?

Sometimes we need to look into the mirror.

Sometimes we need to think about ourselves and how we are acting, and why.

Sometimes we need to be brave and face the uncomfortable and even scary things and choose to really look at them with relationship to ourselves.

No one else is going to know you better than you know yourself. We cannot read minds. When you give into cognitive dissonance that is kind of like letting your mind run on auto-pilot. You are stuck on the rails, and the preprogrammed path and when you spin the steering wheel it is just an illusion. It makes children happy. There is no risk. Life is risky. Life can be scary.

A brave person is not a person without fear. A brave person is someone who has fear but stands up to it and faces it. A brave person has fears they just don't let those fears control them. At the very least they try very hard not to be controlled by them. It can at times be difficult and we all will slip up from time to time and react in fear.

So when you have the propaganda apparatuses of the legacy media telling you what is misinformation have you ever truly given thought to the bulk of their commercials. Who is paying for the majority of their advertisements?

If the people paying their bills would be hurt by the truth do you truly think the legacy media or people receiving big payments from these entities would tell the truth and bite the hand that feeds them?

Do you truly think they are that honorable, truthful, and inhabited by such a sense of integrity?

Have you not caught them lying recently? Truly?

Why do you keep trusting them?

I can tell you why I used to trust them. I grew up in a place where for awhile we had two television channels, and some radio shows. The news aired in the morning, early evening, and late at night. Most people tuned in to find out what happened in the world for that day. The news told us what the truth was.

We might also get news papers and other periodicals that supplemented that.

We'd go to school and they would teach us to write essays and reports on news that we watched or read the night before.

We were conditioned to trust the news. It was our window into how history was happening. It was our window to what we needed to know.

If you learned that you didn't need to pay attention yourself. The easy thing was to get home and let the news give you your programming for the day. It is interesting to me that the networks refer to their shows as "programming". "We now return to your regularly scheduled programming."

This is the environment I was schooled in.

I also happened to be in school when this began to change. When cable television arrived and you could suddenly have a dozen channels that was amazing. Then it was two dozen, then fifty, and the number just kept climbing.

Then CNN arrived. News 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If you wanted the news you could watch it nonstop.

Then the gulf war came and CNN was there to report it all. People were glued to CNN. I remember my father referring to RV campers coming to our mountain town for the summer as "Incoming SCUDD missiles" as that was something CNN spoke about a lot during the gulf war.

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(Image Source: nosint.blogspot.com)

Years later we would find out that many of those CNN bits with Wolf Blitzer and others were fake. Done with green screens, and other effects. They would act as though they were there and certain things were occurring but it was all simply studio and editing room magic. It often didn't happen at all.

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If you do your research you'll find out that for the big news outlets this became a fairly common practice and still is today.

Why send journalists on the ground into harms way to get the actual news if you can just make it up and use some effects? It is a lot less expensive. It is also convenient because you can make the story out to be whatever you want it to be.

Then we had the new catch phrases that made this even easier to accomplish...

Some people say...

It wouldn't be uncommon to hear the phrase "some people say" before a news outlet would tell you some narrative they wished to put out there. This would evolve into several variations on this. It could be "Scientists say" without having any actual scientist go on record. Later they would answer this by having scientists that would go on the air and speak any narrative they told them to speak. If you looked into these people you'd often find out they never had actually done anything in the field of science using the scientific method beyond perhaps what they did in college working towards a degree. Some of them might not even have done that. Then you'd find some that were clearly politicians and not scientists as they were always pushing political talking points and they would often use phrases that no self respecting person that understands the scientific method would ever do...

If you pay attention it is there. It is uncomfortable but it is there.

It often takes a shocking moment to cause a paradigm shift when your mind is shocked and you can no longer look at the world the same way. The thing that did it to me would make me a nut job and a conspiracy theorist for most of you. In fact, just the fact I mentioned I might be a conspiracy theorist to you may have already triggered a Pavlovian Reaction in you. You may be justifying in your mind why you shouldn't listen to anything else I say. Why? I called myself a conspiracy theorist. We shouldn't listen to people that speak conspiracy theories should we? Have you ever stopped to think and ask why that is?

Do you know what a conspiracy is?

Technically it is a plan (aka premeditation) to commit a crime or under handed act that involves two or more people. Do you realize how many things that covers? Technically it covers any bank robbery that had more than one person.

How about theory? Does that mean true? No. In the sense it is used here I prefer the label hypothesis as that is more fitting for what it is when compared to the scientific method.

It is a speculation. It is a possibility. The people you call conspiracy theorists may have several different "theories" and be well aware that they can't all be true.

In a court of law any crime that was planned by more than one person could be considered a "conspiracy theory" until it is proven. Then it simply becomes a conspiracy. Every year quite a number of people are prosecuted and conspiracy will be in the final charges.

Conspiracies happen.

Those of you that immediately assume a community like #informationwar, #deepdives, or #proofofbrain is spreading "misinformation". That in itself is a conspiracy theory. The only difference is you are comfortable with it. You might even act on it like it is fact.

You don't stop to question who it is that is actually speaking "misinformation".

You don't stop to ask when it became a bad thing to ask questions, express concerns, and have doubts.

You don't stop to ask why you blindly follow the orders of entities/agencies that surely you have caught lying to you time and time again.

Who exactly is spreading the "misinformation"? How do you know?


Easy Way to Navigate this

There is an easy way to navigate this. It is called free speech. It is a truly beautiful thing. It can be wonderful. It can be horrible.

You can hear people speaking things that make your skin crawl, or make you want to get a bucket to lose your most recent meal into. Yet it is freedom.

You do have a recourse. Your answer to free speech you don't like should be...

Can you guess?

If you thought silence them, censor them, punish them, ban them, cancel them, down vote them, etc? BUZZ wrong answer.

The correct answer is your words. Use them. If you are not good at using them. Use them anyway. Just like any exercise you get better with practice. Some people will have an advantage over you. You'll get mentally battered. You'll fail at times. You'll succeed at others. You will become a stronger person for it and your mind will thank you as it gets that exercise it needs.

If you practice then it'll be with your words that you can counter speech that you do not like. Does that mean calling people names, insulting their character, etc.? No. You'll eventually learn that while that may make you feel better as soon as you go down that route you have lost that exchange. The exception is if you goad the person into calling you names as well. You didn't win then either... In that case you both lost.

You see communication is about an exchange between two or more minds. If you shut down that communication. That is failure. If you try but can't reach someone that may not be failure.

It is hard to change the things we believe in. The more important they are and the longer they have been part of us the harder it becomes.

It is important to remember this is true of the people you debate/discuss/argue with as well. If you expect them to immediately agree with you and change their mind then you are setting inflated false expectations.

That very rarely happens (though I've seen it happen a few times). Usually it becomes an exchange and people go back to their proverbial corners. They sit. They think. The things from that exchange sit as seeds in the minds of all who are involved. Some of them might begin to grow. The persons mind will change. By the time the important changes occur they usually won't remember where those initial seeds came from.

If you couldn't convince someone. That doesn't mean you failed. The seeds may be there and just take time.

Likewise, if you think you were the only one planting seeds you are mistaken. There are seeds in your mind as well.

I often say that if I encounter a person who can remain civil even though we disagree that is one of the greatest learning opportunities out there. I have zero doubt that such exchanges drop a lot of seeds in my mind.

I welcome it.

This is also why I sometimes will debate with people when other people tell me I am wasting my time. It may end up being true that it was a waste. Yet I've encountered people that disagreed with me completely and a year later I saw them speaking very close to my own words but with their own flavor to someone else. I seriously doubt the person remembered the discussion where they were on the other side a year before. That was an eye opening experience for me.

Did the person become me? Did they agree with me?

No. Not at all. They were still very much their own person and there were still plenty of areas we disagreed about.

Do I consider it a victory?

No I consider it communication.

It is something we should be striving to do.


Misinformation

Have you ever considered how divided everything is becoming? I know it is impossible not to notice now?

Do you realize that the same outlets that are telling us who the enemies are, who we must attack, who is evil, who is wrong, and who we should silence could be doing the opposite if they chose to?

They could just as easily be used to heal the divides and bring us all together and get us talking with each other.

Instead their goal clearly is to divide.

If you are seeking to destroy those passing "misinformation"... who told you it was misinformation? Have you researched it yourself? Have you listened to what they had to say? Have you seen any of their evidence?

Did you hear someone else condemn them as spreading misinformation and that was all you needed to know? You'll just trust them and attack like a fired gun...

What does that make you?

Unthinking tool perhaps?

Do I think people doing this are stupid? Most of the time no. Likely stubborn. Doing what is comfortable. Likely haven't taken the time to truly stop and think things through.


Now let's assume it is misinformation...

Have you ever found a case in history where banning, censoring, etc. actually worked without creating a counter effect?

The drinking age in the U.S. is 21... if you are from the U.S. how well did that work out for you?

In my experience my friends would binge drink whatever they could get ahold of because they were not supposed to have it and they knew it might be the last time they could for awhile. The laws didn't stop anything. They actually encouraged irresponsible behavior.

How about drugs? Do you think the drug war has worked? Do you think it is at all effective?

I see it as creating massive criminal enterprises and harm. It also is costing ever increasing amounts of money due to the problems that exist only due to it being illegal.

Yet places like Portugal decriminalized ALL drugs far more than a decade ago (closing on 2 I think) and instead put money into voluntary clinics people could use to help them with drug problems if they chose to do so. It cost far less money than the war on drugs was costing them. They ended up with less drug problems. The criminals didn't benefit from selling things illegally in Portugal because it wasn't illegal.

I've given it some thought and I don't know of a case in history where banning or censoring worked. It caused problems and created new black markets and criminal undergrounds every time.

Often it turned ordinary citizens into criminals over night.

Why do you think banning misinformation would be any different?

If you want to counter misinformation then you should do so with more compelling information...

As I said before attacking the person with name calling, ridicule, or character assassination is not a path to success for this. That is a losing proposition.

If you think #informationwar is providing misinformation... post something to #informationwar yourself explaining why a position was wrong. Just be prepared to back it up with critical thinking, and facts not simply opinion or because you are repeating something you heard the news say.

The community would welcome it. If you can keep it civil (on both sides) then everyone will come out a winner in that exchange.

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I never considered the word programming re:TV in that way. I was a program manager when I worked for the public access TV station. I did wonder why it was called that, considering I had come from the IT world. Very interesting, and very apt.

"Some people say..." is an example of weasel words (although there is an example of logical fallacy in one of the examples given ;>). The authors of that article argue that weasel words are an indication of dishonesty, although that seems to be true in the cases where the people using it that way are in the communications field (media, politics, education, and academia), and should know better, I would argue in turn that logical fallacy often comes from bias.

And I would also claim that bias is very related to trust. Why do we trust thee "communication" people to provide us with intelligence, keeping in mind that intelligence is information that has been collected and analyzed to aid in decision making?

Trust has many parents, including bias:

  • Thinking is hard, and confusing when considering different inputs in intelligence and information; Haselton (Hazelton?) argues that heuristics (thinking shortcuts) evolved to ease the burden to think. Biases are heuristics gone bad.
  • So humans trust intelligence sources and leaders to make decisions for them.
  • Conservatives (simplifying the political divide) trust intelligence sources and leaders that have failed them before. Part of this results from expecting honest behavior from both institution and individual; Johnson (in "Enemies of Society", which explains how Western societies succeed due to use of reason, individual liberty, and free markets) points out that trust is necessary in society for these concepts to work. A little more bluntly, a commenter on this post, GRIFT LEFT AND RIGHT, states:

Here's another reason the Right grift works
People on the Right mostly default to trusting people. We're the guys who return shopping carts, help people carry things, watch each other's stuff. We donate to charity way out of proportion to our wealth.
We're suckers, basically.

  • Prepare yourself for a biased claim from me (shocked faces all around, right ;>). The so-called liberals (again, simplifying the political divide) trust the intelligence sources and leaders because the "liberal" belief system requires a constant flow of intelligence and decision making that reaffirms the "liberal" is a moral person, and that the costs of the "liberal's" goals and duties in that belief system can be paid for by other people
  • Most people on all sides are infected by normalcy bias, or the concept that if we ignore potential consequences, then nothing bad can happen. As an example, the "conservative" doesn't want to admit that harsh measures are required NOW if the Republic is to be restored. You can also see this in our security services, both LE and natsec, that have looked past the subversion of our society and the very open attack on them, because they don't want to risk that paycheck by adhering to their oath. my own normalcy bias has been apparent in my long defense of these...men...over the course of the last few as more and more oath-breaking has been made clear

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I truly hope that more of your seeds sprout, to lighten the load of our required harsh measures.

I gave this the biggest up vote I could. I didn't have anything meaningful to add to what you said so I just gave you a 100% up vote. :)

Let it brew, nd you'll probably find something LOL

Hoping I bolstered your point somewhat, ty

In speech I find it difficult to not get angry at times with people I see as asshats. In a typing format it is much easier to remain calm cool and keep my thoughts together. If some one acts out against you, and you retaliate things go south very fast, if you make a calm reasoned reply, then that begins to shake the cobwebs out of the person in some cases.

In my way of thinking misinformation is any information that goes against the current narrative set by people. To a flat earther, anyone presenting information that the earth is round is spreading misinformation. The divisions have been made, and the government and other groups and organizations are making the divides even smaller, soon it will be back to that experiment with blue eyed and brown eyed people.

I agree. That is my concern anytime I hear someone talk about policing the "misinformation".

Who becomes the police that decides what information is true, and which is false? Why should they be considered the "arbiter of truth"?

Have their actions shown them to be consistently trust worthy?

As you hinted at there have been some notoriously bad/evil people in the past that were certain they were speaking the truth and simply trying to stomp out the "misinformation".

But there are some things that are empirically true no matter what someone thinks or are you saying empirical truth is relative to the one positing information.

If someone says, "Academics are wrong 1+1 is really 3 join me in exposing the truth" - that's empirically wrong. Am I an "arbiter of truth" for pointing out that they are spreading misinformation?

If someone says, "Academics are wrong 1+1 is really 3 join me in exposing the truth" - that's empirically wrong.

While I agree with you. Framing and perspective can change a lot of things.

1+1 could be concatenation if it is strings. Thus it would be eleven. (11).

If it were binary the first digit is worth 1, and the second is worth 2 so add them together you get 3. Yet you used a mathematical operator so anyone that tried to push that narrative would be making crap up. 1+1 in binary would be 01 or 10 depending upon whether you are using Little Endian or Big Endian but the value would still be 2. Making what you are talking about correct.

I can't think of any case where 2+2=5 is true though. :)

"empirically true" requires carefully defined constraints and rules of discussion. If those are defined then yes there are things that are certain.

If they are not true then perspectives can make things be out of alignment. It thus becomes important to set up definitions and expectations before debating/discussing something.

Also people hide behind TRUE frequently. TRUTH itself is subjective. What you consider truth will be based around YOUR knowledge, the things you have observed, etc. Since there are things all of us don't know as we learn new things our TRUTH can shift.

The things that don't shift are the things we generally refer to as FACTS. While TRUTH and FACTS are often treated as synonyms they are actually not.

Isn't philosophy a fun thing... it keeps us mentally dancing.

Damn... nice response, well done. Wish I would have lead with 2+2=5. LOL. I hate Philosophy 😁

The things that don't shift are the things we generally refer to as FACTS. While TRUTH and FACTS are often treated as synonyms they are actually not.

I think that statement is bang on and where we end up in the weeds. If I think back to many of my arguments(err discussions) they fluttered between my TRUTH and FACTS. My TRUTH is biased based on my understanding and knowledge.

Appreciate your answer. Enjoyed it a lot.

I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about this. Can you tell? I love philosophy. :)

Yes, you can tell. I was being facetious, no offence. I really do enjoy good thought-provoking discussions. I still find myself egotistically and emotionally bound to certain topics but I'm learning. Although I could be biased ;-)

I still find myself egotistically and emotionally bound to certain topics but I'm learning. Although I could be biased ;-)

Me too friend. We all make mistakes. All we can try to do is learn and improve or likelihood of keeping them in check, or noticing and reigning them in as early as possible.

I took no offense. I enjoyed it. If I took offense so what... it is part of life. A mature person wouldn't cancel or hate you for being offensive. :)

It can be easy to momentarily forget that our truth is simply that. Ours. We can lose track of the FACTS and start to apply our own bias in interpretation.

It's not completely avoidable as we are human. Yet we can become aware of it and hopefully keep it from steering us wrong too often.

You are just getting to know me. I have a real pet peeve when it comes to absolutes (most often are not true) and generalizations (really just a different category of absolute).

It makes it hard for me to think of anything that I believe should be censored for being misinformation.

There is no one that I absolutely trust. This includes myself, because I debate internally with myself frequently, and thus change my mind frequently.

There is an upside to this maybe.

I'll listen/read/watch anyone talk about ANYTHING. I can do so without fear they are going to corrupt my mind. I can listen without believing them. I can also listen and think some parts of what they are saying don't make sense to me, yet I might see some parts that do.

Instead of zoning in on something I disagree with and then tossing out the entire thing I can sometimes still find some bits of value in the whole.

Since I don't believe anyone completely EVERYTHING is potentially misinformation as far as I am concerned.

The key is whether someone is knowingly telling you something they know is false. That is what we call a lie. "knowingly" is the keyword there.

If a person believes what they are telling you is true then they are not lying. They can still be incorrect, but it isn't a lie.

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If the people paying their bills would be hurt by the truth do you truly think the legacy media or people receiving big payments from these entities would tell the truth and bite the hand that feeds them?

Of course they wouldn't. The media, just like a vast majority of politicians, is bought and paid for. Thankfully I think that more and more people are becoming aware of this.

I think some are aware of it but haven't stopped to adjust their lives yet based upon that knowledge.

That is a big part of why I wrote this post.

It is way too easy to program the sheeple these days. We can't even blame Soma like in "1984"....

:'(

we have Soma though...booze, drugs, sex, "feel-good" "psychology", the sports arena, etcetera ad infinitum.

We don't want to put these toys down and do the necessary.

Woke and virtue signaling are kind of mental SOMA.

too (disgustingly) true

It is easier to ignore what is happening, and remain sheeple..baaaa!

You are right, in that we are being "medicated" from many sources, to keep is under Control; on this slaughterhouse floor they are making for us!

>:(

Misinformation exists.

The definition:

"false or inaccurate information, especially that which is deliberately intended to deceive."

All you need is at least one human who knows the truth, then they lie and publish the bunk. It's a fairly simple concept. Not worth getting confused.

Why do you think banning misinformation...

Just the thought of banning misinformation is illogical. Unpreventable. Can't stop someone from publishing misinformation unless you could somehow know in advance they were about to publish misinformation. Should someone step in and stop it from spreading? Absolutely. Especially if it's dangerous. Can actors posing as doctors be seen on television selling cigarettes anymore? No. And that's good. Really good. Because a smoker like myself will tell everyone, don't smoke.

Also, the folks who don't subscribe to the Conspiracy Channel on the internet don't deny the existence of actual conspiracies. What's visibly apparent is an entire market of consumers, and quite a few individuals tapping into that market for profit with content they've created and published. Several are merely creating a distraction for people; no different than any form of entertainment. They're posing as insiders but it's visibly apparent they can't be, since they're busy churning out content daily, never leaving the studio unless they're going to the fridge to get something to drink. They add in all the flashy clickbait, sensationalized headlines; becomes a product and gets sold to an established market.

There's a huge difference between a whistleblower and a whistle blowing charlatan. Huge difference between a tabloid journalist and a journalist. It's getting to the point now where the charlatan and tabloid are taking the lion's share of the attention when it comes to certain topics.

People outside of what could be called the standard conspiracy content market also form their own thoughts and can detect a possible conspiracy taking shape if they feel like it.

For instance, some publishing content for that standard market I mentioned throw up a big red flag and scream about being demonitized or deplatformed. So if you were one who wanted to be in control of what kind of information can be spread and how, one of the easiest ways would be to send a clear message there's no money in it, and no venue. That'll deter several from even getting started. Especially if they can't detect they're being pulled along by a charlatan. The ones screaming there's no money and no platform never stopped making money and were heard loud and clear there was no platform, by using their platforms. So what's really going on here? You decide.

Bet you never thought of that one...

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I was accused of this on my most recent post by a deranged person who constantly was making up situations/putting words in my mouth. It can be infuriating sometimes to deal with all the online narcissists who never admit they are wrong, and who twist your words and label you.

Keep fighting the good fight :)

I tell those people that if I didn't say it then it happened in their mind not mine.

I will have to remember that one ;0