Misinformation is the poison you need to inoculate young people from, the Center for Public Integrity’s Matthew Spalding has said. “Every citizen who goes to the polls has a responsibility,” he has said, to recognize and debunk false information.
As false information spreads faster and faster — and can be harder to eliminate — the more frequently you need to apply the same treatment to everyone.
The campaigns for the 2020 election understand this reality. Rather than sending robo-calls to voters about the looming mass shooting at the Mandalay Bay or the consequences of 11 charges against 2020 candidates, they have drawn thousands of volunteers out to circulate misinformation and educate voters about, say, Larry Kudlow’s past financial dealings.
That “truth squad” effort and others don’t come cheap. But if young people watch you for the far-fetched statements from candidates — and from the cable stations they turn to first when making up their minds — they will grow up immunized against such misinformation.