Information Pollution

Information Pollution
David Schlecht

“An informed citizenry is the only true repository of the public will.” Thomas Jefferson

We have multiple posts regarding the emergency caused by the Republicans on the Supreme Court in their attempt to rewrite the constitution (activists judges, they’re called) in the Citizens United v. FEC case. They have made it so that businesses, international corporations, and foreign entities like al Qaeda and the Taliban can spend unlimited money to pollute our elections. The last election was just an example. It was by far the most expensive mid term election in our history and hundreds of millions of dollars was spent on  false propaganda (lies) by corporations around the world and we have no idea who.

All this money slanted the election as money always does.

The University of Maryland has a project that is researching the disinformation in this past election and it is exactly as one would expect. The voters were tragically misinformed. From their research, the following disgusting ignorances were reported.

1. Perceptions of Misleading and False Information – An overwhelming majority of voters said that they encountered misleading or false information in the last election, with a majority saying that this occurred frequently and occurred more frequently than usual.

2. Evidence of Misinformation Among Voters – The poll found strong evidence that voters were substantially misinformed on many of the issues prominent in the election campaign, including the stimulus legislation, the healthcare reform law, TARP, the state of the economy, climate change, campaign contributions by the US Chamber of
Commerce and President Obama’s birthplace. In particular, voters had perceptions about the expert opinion of economists and other scientists that were quite different from actual expert opinion.

3. Variations in Misinformation By Voting Behavior – There were significant differences between those who voted Democratic and Republican in the level of misinformation on various issues that were prominent in the campaign and that respondents said were important in shaping their votes.

4. Variations in Misinformation by Exposure to News Sources Consumers of all sources of media evidenced substantial misinformation, suggesting that false or misleading information is widespread in the general information environment, just as voters say they perceive it to be. In most cases increasing exposure to news sources decreased misinformation; however, for some news sources on some issues, higher levels of exposure increased misinformation.

There is more findings and plenty of detail in the actual document so don’t take my word for it; go out there and find out for yourself.

We Americans need to respect the integrity of our information and start demanding that corporations and so called “think tanks” and so called Fox “news”  quit lying to us. We can’t expect our Democracy to survive if we voters don’t know our hats from a hole in the ground.