ABSTRACT

Unmasking the Truth: Public Health Experts, the Coronavirus, and the Raucous Marketplace of Ideas   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Introduction: "A common refrain among those worried about influence operations is that the amplification of truth will triumph over disinformation. Influence operations are organized activities used to affect an audience or outcome. And disinformation, or the intentional spreading of misleading or untrue information, is a common tactic in such operations. On the surface, this truth-focused approach seems simple. If truth is preferable to lies, then educating people to easily identify the difference between accurate information and disinformation would lead them to shun untruthful alternatives. The coronavirus pandemic offers a unique opportunity to analyze this approach. Today's digitally connected information space is an extremely challenging operating environment. Communicating the truth nowadays is a lot like hollering into a sprawling, open bazaar where some people might be straining to hear, but the vast majority are making noise and going about their own business. In this market, attention rather than valid information is the most valuable commodity. Many actors attempt to be heard in a crisis. This includes actors with both good and bad intentions, and myriad bystanders who take up and spread content not so much with a motive in mind, but as a quick response to the information they consume."

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2020-07
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2020 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
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Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: https://carnegieendowment.org/
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