Letter to the editor: Practice banning misinformation from your daily life
Dictionary.com defines the term “misinformation” as “false information that is spread, regardless of whether there is intent to mislead.” It has existed since the dawn of news and always performed that same function.
Be aware: Misinformation is not to be confused with lying. The Washington Post sets misinformation aside as falsities that believers hold to be true, believers that — given the benefit of the doubt — obey only the best of intentions. Only the rarest of partisans campaign so vigorously for something they don’t actually believe in. In truth, mostly everyone hosts a legitimate claim to their beliefs. Whether that claim is founded on fact or not is indeed the gaugeable effect of misinformation.
Unfortunately, it pairs well with disinformation, or deliberately misleading propaganda. Disinformation is poignant, wily and camouflages itself within our biases through misinformation. Among its gravest effects is also its greatest threat: that it possesses enormous potential to confirm our deepest concerns. And it is the resulting outcry and calls to action that present the greatest domestic dangers to our security.
At the very least, it is fair to assume that this dense fog of misinformation is here to stay. And given its deftness in clouding our path to the truth and greasing the wheels of panic, the confusing sore it leaves on our politics is only bound to putrefy. Practice banning misinformation from your daily life. Proud citizens cannot afford to invest their hard-won democracy on gut feelings or emotionally charged biases. This investment is reserved for the honest pursuit of the greater good.
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