Disinformation 101

4 mins read

Disinformation 101

How to Spot Fake News: A Disinformation Check List

Vaccination is a good defense against COVID. Inoculation works similarly and builds your resistance against being infected by disinformation.

Rand Waltzman is an expert at analyzing disinformation and how it’s used to manipulate people. This StoryMap summaries his recent report from #disinformation and explains 18 common tactics along with recent examples.

“Understand and recognize cognitive attacks and attempts to manipulate you. The success of such attacks heavily depends on you NOT understanding and recognizing them.”

Manipulation tricks

Guard against manipulation by disinformation with this checklist.

Share this StoryMap freely with this link https://arcg.is/qajWj0
Embed it in a website with this code < iframe src=”https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/809ac4fade61405aa0443125b678dae9?header” width=”100%” height=”500px” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen allow=”geolocation”></iframe>

Disinformation tactic checklist

  • Attack scientists. Emphasize flaws in scientific studies such as sample size.
  • Promote your own ‘would-be’ experts. They don’t even have to be experts on the topic.
  • Misrepresent data. Cherry-pick data to deceive and dilute the work of scientists.
  • Bury bad news. Deny it any public exposure. Catch and Kill the story.
  • Push alternate facts. Create your own truth and spread it to misinform and distract people from the facts.
  • Host conferences. Organize your own conferences with hand picked speakers to push your stories.
  • Hide your intent. Don’t reveal your agenda or who’s funding your disinformation campaign.
  • Use harsh language. Use buzzwords to differentiate between “strong” and “poor” science.
  • Shift the blame. Blame alternative causes for bad things. Deny any responsibility.
  • Claim you are being censored. Demand equal air time to spread your alternate facts.
  • Define how to measure outcomes. Create your own guidelines for the right way to measure results while undermining scientific principles.
  • Exploit people’s lack of science knowledge. Use conspiracy theories to confuse people.
  • Pretend you’re defending the truth. Claim that everyone else is lying.
  • Obscure your involvement. Use attorney-client privilege to hide your role in events.
  • Weaponize media outlets. Use media outlets that support you to spread your story.
  • Claim equivalency. Appeal to journalistic balance. Invoke the fairness doctrine.
  • Take advantage of your opponent’s lack of money and influence. Silence individuals by outspending them. Use Non Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) to gag them.
  • Make bad things your cause seem normal. Reduce the importance of bad things happening. Make them seem inevitable.

Build your resistance

Building public resilience against misinformation. Developing solutions to misinformation is more important than ever in this post-truth era where science and facts are under constant assault. A key solution to making the public more resilient against fake news is inoculation – avoid being misled by learning the techniques of denial. The Cranky Uncle game uses cartoons and critical thinking to fight misinformation. The game was developed by Monash University scientist John Cook, in collaboration with creative agency Autonomy. The game is now available for free on iPhoneAndroid, and as a browser game.

TakeAway: Build your resistance against being manipulated by disinformation by understanding the tricks used against you.


Credit: Video adapted from Anti-Drug Public Service Announcement (PSA) with Rachel Leigh Cook using the free iMovie app.
Read in browser »

Reposted from Democracy Labs with permission.

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

Democracy Labs is a hub for ongoing technology and creative innovation that serves progressive campaigns and organizations at the national, state, and local levels.

Our focus is on long term, sustainable and affordable solutions. An approach that is longer than an election cycle, and isn’t purely dependant on volunteers, can enable more qualified candidates to run for office and for more issue groups to bring about positive social change.

Democracy Labs is a project of the Tides Advocacy Fund.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Story

Florida Democratic Party Chair Releases Statement On Unjust Arrest Of Civil Rights Leader Ben Frazier

Next Story

We the People: January 6th Day of Remembrance and Action

Latest from Explainer

%d bloggers like this: