An article in Psychology Today, a deeply earnest and condemnatory article on disinformation and the brave efforts to “fight” it using “prebunking”, contains the following sentence: “Every day around 9 p.m., Joan Donovan bids her wife good night, heads into her home office — which she calls the ‘dungeon’ — and binges white supremacist videos and conspiracy theories on YouTube.”
Well, you have to laugh.
Tell me if you heard this one before: any official definition of disinformation must necessarily rely upon a list of Official Truths. Official Truths are statements the regime insists you must publicly believe, statements which may or may not be truths.
And are likely not truths, because there’s little to no need for a well run government to police truths. While there are endless reasons for an incompetent, inept, weak, hostile, evil, or unhealthy government to punish and control thought. You can pick just which of these adjectives applies best to our regime. Whichever it is, the rot spreads, hence the growing pressure to condemn disinformation.
Let’s finish the joke started above before moving on to prebunking. After the quote, the article continued like this: “Donovan was among the earliest to predict the rise of COVID-related xenophobic conspiracies and the spread of COVID-related medical falsehoods.”
All right, “prebunking”: “the process of debunking lies, tactics, or sources before they strike”.
You will not have missed the martial, or violence, connotation. It is, of course, true that an immoral agent bent on malice may strike with disinformation, such as our CIA or propagandists famously do.
But so can you strike, dear reader, by sharing a forbidden meme about virus lab leaks, say, or how it is impossible two women can marry, or vote stealing. Striking is an act of violence, and so words and jokes become violence, which “endanger the safety” of those who see them. Striking with words is a crime, even a hate crime. Hate crimes are, of course, political crimes.
Most accused officially of disinformation have only canceled for their political crimes. But some have been arrested. The punishment depends on how threatened the regime feels. The further they flee from Reality, the more is that is stolen, the more threatened they feel. Expect fretting about disinformation to become louder.
The idea behind “prebunking” is called inoculation theory: A small amount of a virus can help our bodies build antibodies against future exposure to that virus. In a similar way, exposure to the workings of disinformation can help build resistance to future exposure to disinformation. We develop skills to make sense of the deluge of information that is our online life. And Bad News is one possible prebunking tool.
Bad News is a game in which you can spread in-game “disinformation” to gain likes, the more the higher the score, or whatever. The “researchers” think that if you see how fake disinformation (!) works, you’ll become less likely to use officially defined disinformation in real life.
Well, that is how researchers think. They never reach awareness that some, or much, of what is officially classified disinformation is true, or largely true. Which is why most pass such information on.
Enter Stephan Lewandowsky, a man whose testes flee into his inguinal canal each time he hears somebody say global warming is exaggerated. He’s got a peer-reviewed article on misinformation and prebunking with Sander van der Linden.
Lewandowsky’s thinks the phrase “carbon tax” falls in the misinformation category. Because it can make “people who oppose new taxes think about climate change mitigation as a greater threat than climate change itself”.
You don’t say.
“Carbon tax” has to be prebunked because “the climate crisis is now considered an acute emergency by many scientists”. The many who don’t count it an “acute emergency” don’t count. Or are spreading disinformation, according to Lewy.
Well, 3% can play at that game. And we have. We de- and pre- and post-bunked the idiocy of the “97% of scientists agree” meme, a Lewandowsky special. We did this years ago in our own peer-reviewed article. I emphasize peer-review, which means you can’t dispute it. Right? (See also this peer-reviewed paper.)
The only thing I learned from Lewy’s new paper is the term “refutational preemption”, which what you put on grants instead of “prebunking” to sound more learned.
Bonus: Late Addition!
Twitter slapped a warning on the **Journal of the American Medical Association** for the wrongthink crime of publishing data showing rapid waning of COVID vaccines in children. https://t.co/KbnqeNcfW6 pic.twitter.com/ZT8WA2Z1Y6
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) June 8, 2022
What did I tell you about official disinformation? Official Truths certified by Experts is used to decide what to censor.
The journal authors have expertise, but are not Experts, which are those with expertise aligned with the regime. The regime says vexxines are Panacea, so all must believe.
Buy my new book and learn to argue against the regime: Everything You Believe Is Wrong.