Since the Covid lockdowns, what I call Misinformation Hysteria has made its way into the minds of huge numbers of people across the world, so-much-so that I’ve had multiple people tell me that so-called misinformation is as big of a threat to humanity as nuclear war. And because this suspiciously sounds to me like something that Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum might want to have people repeating, I have to spend some time examining it and detailing my position.
When it comes to defining misinformation, I prefer to keep it simple: claims that are wrong. And that’s not to presuppose anything of the intentions of the person making the claim. Currently, the commonly accepted definition of misinformation confuses matters as there’s no clear distinction between someone being genuinely mistaken and someone deceptively spreading false information.
As for false information that has been spread deceptively, I’ll keep that simple too and continue to just call them lies, and I consider it a mistake to broaden the abstraction by referring to lies as misinformation because, suddenly, the line between a liar and someone who’s mistaken becomes very thin and is easily misjudged.
This can be dangerous in a world where people are punished for what they say and think, especially when, in that same world, many are desperate for their peers to be wrong so they can be right.
Let’s take our responses to Covid as a brief example. During the first lockdowns, we witnessed some extremely shady methods of dealing with alleged misinformation. What this amounted to in many cases was stamping out critical public discussion under the guise of preventing misinformation, and, as a consequence, only allowing one narrative (the official narrative) to be repeated.
At the height of the hysteria, those with genuine questions and even those who medically couldn’t take the vaccines were accused of spreading misinformation and labelled conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers, “against the science,” etc. Communities were deliberately pitted against one another, sometimes coming at the permanent cost of their livelihoods, their social cohesion, and in some cases their family relations.