“Information may be power but misinformation is what makes the power-hungry that much more powerful” – Unknown
Keeping sane in a polarized environment is a tough ask, especially when there is so much hatred and misinformation about things that affect us. It might seem prudent to duck and ignore the jibes and crazy-talk that we increasingly see and hear at bars, social gatherings and even the dinner table or the news for that matter.
But the practical alternative is to process information from the right places and sources, and that’s what Moose&Squirrel offer – a gateway to meaningful and unadulterated news and information on all things medical, scientific, political and likewise.
Misinformation vs. Disinformation – Double Edged Sword
During the Cold War, the term ‘propaganda’ was all the rage. In the 21st century, it has been replaced with more terms such as misinformation and disinformation. From articles to blogs to newsroom discussions and talk-shows, these two terms are thrown around like they were popcorn.
But, are the two one and the same? Well, yes and no. Yes, because both misinformation and disinformation correspond to conclusions and statements that look factual but in reality aren’t. However, it is the intent that distinguishes one from the other.
Typically, any information that is ‘factually inaccurate’ but looks genuine (owing to the gravity of context in question) may be categorized as misinformation. Social media is a prime example.
Which then poses more questions –is the data is false? And that is where it gets all muddled up. Because, unlike arithmetic, where 3+2 will always return 5 as the answer no matter how you serve it. So, true and false have clear demarcations.
But once context gets mixed into data, any data for that matter, those boundaries separating truth from falsehood begin to get complicated. For example, a tennis player acting out against the match referee is against the spirit of the game and puts the player in bad light.
But add a layer of other extraneous factors such as loss of fear or the player having gone through a sad set of circumstances right before the game, and the actions of him or her suddenly seem more ‘humanistic’. And that in a nutshell describes misinformation.
With disinformation, there are clear sinister aspects involved. As the name suggests, there is an intentional and not instinctive reason for dissemination of inaccurate information. This is generally if not particularly seen in news coverage of geopolitics, internal politics, policy making, and research.
In all the above cases, there is a desire to hide or ‘maneuver’ facts towards a certain direction so as to make an audience to come to conclusions that are more or less untrue. And the scary part is that its not just the marginally educated strata of population that are vulnerable to disinformation but highly educated too, especially the younger generation. If anything, disinformation is known to affect the latter group more intensely.