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ElectionTaskForce4651 karma

CW: I’m always asked what is the most trusted source of information. The truth is that no-one should be relying on one or two outlets. Reading a variety of sources is a bit like taking regular exercise, it helps you develop skills to understand how complex news stories really are, and how no outlet will capture all the nuance. Watching MSNBC and then Fox cover the same story is an education in itself. I would recommend relying on sources such as PBS, the news agencies (Reuters, AP), international outlets like the BBC, but also try and read around whenever you have a chance. Doing so, makes you a more critical consumer of information, which is what we all need to be these days.

ElectionTaskForce1978 karma

BN: Joe Biden is a politician. Like all politicians, he sometimes says false things. On October 10, for instance, he said Republicans trying to confirm Amy Comey Barrett to the Supreme Court was “not constitutional.” That is clearly wrong. (https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/oct/13/joe-biden/fact-check-bidens-misleading-claim-senate-gops-sup/)

Donald Trump has made more than 20,000 false statements according to the Washington Post Fact Checker (https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/trump-claims-database/?utm_term=.27babcd5e58c&itid=lk_inline_manual_2&itid=lk_inline_manual_2). It’s hard to know when or if he is intentionally lying in making these statements, as the question suggests, but his pattern of false attacks on the legitimacy of the election are extraordinarily worrisome.

It’s important to be clear about this distinction. Just naming one “lie” from both sides implicitly equates the two sides, which is itself a kind of bias when the reality is asymmetric.

ElectionTaskForce886 karma

CW: This is something we’re constantly thinking about, both when we’re hiring new staff, but also every day as part of our work. Do we have people coming from different lived experiences? Do we have people who have different political positions? When we’re looking for misinformation, are we using keywords that will capture content that is being posted by all sides? (For example the left talks about ‘anti-vaxx’ whereas the right talks about medical freedom’.) As humans we’re all susceptible to being seduced by information that reinforces our world view, which is why our team is trained to constantly push back against colleagues and to question our work.

ElectionTaskForce669 karma

CW: This is a key point. People focus on how certain stories are being framed, but we do also need to think about what stories are being ignored. It’s very tempting to think conspiratorially. We often hear people scream - ‘why is the media censoring this story’. But there are a number of reasons why stories don’t get covered. Lack of resources, no journalists who are experiencing the story themselves so they don’t think it’s relevant (this often happens when newsrooms don’t have a range of journalists from different backgrounds), or even the idea that it won’t get clicks (which is what too many newsrooms unfortunately need these days). So yes, there can be bias through lack of coverage, but we also need to think of ways to ensure that news outlets provide comprehensive coverage of different issues, and where possible not assume malintent when there’s no coverage. There’s probably other factors at play.

ElectionTaskForce393 karma

CW: The key is talking to friends and family about the ways in which disinformation is causing harm. This type of content has real impact - whether it’s people thinking COVID is a hoax, or that masks don't work, or that gargling salt water prevents COVID. Or it makes people think that the electoral system can’t be trusted. We need to talk to each other, by really listening. Why are people believing simplistic explanations? Why are they sharing without checking? We need to be empathetic rather than judgmental with each other. We need to teach each other to recognize when we have emotional reactions, we need to slow down and pause before sharing immediately. But mostly we need people to realize that this stuff is having a real impact.