Political Science Research Article
Before I add the link, Trigger Warning! This article is NOT comforting, however it is legit (it won a political science research award), not fake news and very enlightening albeit not in a good way. If you decide to click, read the whole thing, not just the abstract.
I think it's important NOT to avoid truths and facts. This article does supply some good ammunition for dealing with folks - not the ones already on the dark side - folks who are on the side of good, but maybe not able to see the forest for the trees.
I leave it up to you, dear individuals and keepers of the light, whether or not you click on it and read it.
Thanks for posting the study. The article gets to the heart of why each of us would share information that is both hostile to our opponents and unverified or based on rumor.
The question is: what motivates you when you share a story about a party or political figure you oppose if you are not sure the information is true?
I want to share only stories that are verified, although verification, as in the Kavanaugh Yale incident, can be a preponderance of evidence rather than a black and white witness account.
My motivations are something I need to take time to figure out, but I am glad to be thinking about this issue.
One of the findings of the research is that the attacking side posts things they already know are false in an attempt to create further division and chaos, therefore they feel no need to verify (e.g., Pizzagate). The side being attacked has the tendency to verify as much as possible, and to rail against the falsehoods. The disheartening thing is that these researchers found that the attacking/provoking side prevails, because they do not feel bound by rules of decency. So while many of us are busy trying to verify one account or another, the attackers are circulating 10 more things that are false, which overwhelms and overshadows our efforts to verify.
Motivations are not the problem. I have stopped posting any news on social media itself, and only email stuff or post factual things in forums like this one (after I've done my own research). Otherwise I'd be doing research on everything full time, which I can't do. Bottom line, if you're not sure about veracity, don't post. If you want to post something that points out that something else is false and is credible, that's not a problem.
We're dealing with crypto-fascist-nihilism. Like any fanatical belief system, it will do more harm than good.
The disheartening thing is that these researchers found that the attacking/provoking side prevails, because they do not feel bound by rules of decency. So while many of us are busy trying to verify one account or another, the attackers are circulating 10 more things that are false, which overwhelms and overshadows our efforts to verify.
That finding has been evident to me for years. The President and his enablers attack. The Left defends.
I completely agree. It has always felt like the GOP/Right are always on the attack of the left. Sometimes it makes me so angry and exhausted watching the Left defend themselves that there are certain times I wish they would take the offense instead of always being on defense.
I feel like we are trying to keep on the right track so much that we don't let things go anymore. I'm one to say we shouldn't punish people for the rest of their life for one mistake that happens to have been on video tape, essentially ruining people's careers and lives. If someone's life shows they are no longer behaving badly we should just let things go sometimes...but I digress.
On another point, the Right tends to look at aggression as "strength" which tends to make me crazy. It takes more stamina and strength to remain calm and collected when being attacked than to respond in kind.
The dynamic observed in the research is also a bully-codependent dynamic. The mainstream press (NY Times, etc.) have tried different tactics for dealing with the bully. They regularly fact check him and the Right wing lie machine. They continue to face up to him, reporting his misdeeds. But they give his distractions far too much attention, because this sells. Democracy Now! (Amy Goodman) has dealt with the bully in a straight up way. She doesn't bother with his petty distractions, just the important truths. She enjoys telling the truth. She's not on his roller coaster. She's a role model for good journalism.