How Your Politics Make you Easier to Mislead

Propagandists use our social and political ties to spread fake news:

Painting by Russ Mills ( listed for open use)
Photo by Mao at (free for use)

How Does it Work?

These tactics were used by actors the world over long before the United States had a president with such a loose relationship with truth telling — as well as by intelligence services.

Ok, but Why?

People and organizations spread disinformation for a variety of reasons, some of them are benign. In a Pew Research Center Survey from June, some people said they do it simply because they think “it’s interesting”.

“ “They will heighten and amplify disinformation campaigns that tap into partisan politics, the globalist vs. nationalist narrative…in hopes of getting them to seep into mainstream conversations.”— Benjamin Decker, a disinformation specialist in an interview with Poynter, a media watchdog

This is exactly what those responsible for the spin and disinformation are hoping for- to sow doubt in any source of information not branded as “trustworthy” by our social group. They look to inflict myopic viewpoints upon social movements and sow distrust in the societies they target.

Photo from courtesy of lalesh aldarwish (free for use)

Cults Use the Same Tactics

In cults, this tactic is called “isolation”. The subject is removed from the outside world in an effort to cultivate intense introspection, confusion, loss of perspective and a distorted sense of reality.

So how do we resist recruitment?

We are quick to recognize injustice or hypocrisy in others, slower to notice those qualities in ourselves. This tendency applies not only our own decisions but also to members of those we perceive as members of our tribe — we naturally trust the political and social communities in which we live.

Photo at courtesy of Anthony DaRousa (free for use)

A reporter on immigration and world affairs, based in Cucuta, Colombia. Bylines at Al Jazeera, Caracas Chronicles, New Humanitarian and more

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