Misinformation is everywhere. From deliberate “fake news” to unintentional mistruths, all misinformation serves to spread confusion, ignorance, and hatred across the globe. It is becoming harder every day to know who or what to trust. Traditional news media outlets, like cable news, magazines, and newspapers, may selectively report stories that are most beneficial to them. The Washington Post, owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, tends to cover Amazon more favorably than other news outlets, for example.
Although they have their biases, traditional news outlets provide the valuable and much-needed service of keeping the public informed. Social media is where misinformation really thrives. Sites like Facebook have become breeding grounds for dangerous ideas, such as the budding anti-vaccine and ‘freebirth’ movements.
Nothing exists in a vacuum, and misinformation didn’t magically appear one day on the internet. The anti-vaxx movement was born out of a growing distrust of doctors and the medical system in general. Some doctors have a history of overprescribing opioids and are beholden to large pharmaceutical corporations. We are currently experiencing a global pandemic, and millions of Americans have lost their job and health insurance. You might expect health insurance companies to also be suffering, but they’re actually doing great. The healthcare industry is set to make record profits due to the death and hospitalization of millions of Americans. It’s not difficult to understand why Americans don’t trust the medical system in this country.
I’d even go a step further and say the belief that a healthcare industry driven by greed and shareholders cares more about people than profits is almost as ludicrous as the idea that vaccines cause autism.
All misinformation, mainstream or not, is harmful. The only known cure for misinformation is the truth. The truth is much more satisfying and empowering than misinformation, but much harder to come by and a lot more rare. The truth doesn’t discriminate and it doesn’t unfairly benefit one group of people over another, which has made it really unpopular in America.
I want to spread the truth as far and as wide as possible. I’ll need your help doing that. If you ever find yourself enjoying what you read, please forward it to a friend or family member. I’m sure you all know someone who could use an extra dose of the truth.
I plan to publish every Friday and Sunday.
Here’s what you can expect in your inbox every Friday:
In-depth, original research on misconceptions, misinformation, mistruths, lies, and fake news.
Understand how misinformation spreads and why people believe it. Belief systems are complex, and people who believe dangerous and anti-intellectual things deserve respect just like anyone else.
Data-driven information. Whenever possible, I plan to base my articles on data and statistics, and not on anecdotal evidence.
And here’s what to look forward to each Sunday:
Top news of the week. Keep up with what’s going on in the U.S. and the world.
A headline of the week. I like to add some comic relief to the news, so these headlines are usually pretty wild. Expect to read about how Even Hermit Crabs Have Wealth Inequality or get answers to questions you’ve always wondered about, like Is This Horse Living in a Third-Floor Apartment?
Recommended reading. These are usually captivating long-form articles that taught me something new. Articles are sometimes broken into several different parts, and whenever possible I include links to all parts. Past recommended readings include One Nation, Tracked, Five Years Later, Who Really Hacked Sony?, and How Ring Went From ‘Shark Tank’ Reject to America’s Scariest Surveillance Company.