†Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt: The Power of Misinformation†
The current buzz surrounding “fake news” on the internet has taken a firm grip on our current culture. This strategy, I believe has its roots in the CIA and its misinformation campaigns, dating back to its previous incarnation, the OSS. Several of the Freedom of Information Act’s document releases contain the acronym, but due to a lot of redactions in the paperwork, this is hard to prove. The strategy in its current form, in regards to technology, was initially used by IBM to box competitors out of the market.
In one form or another, we have all been victims of FUD. In fact, any misleading rumor that you’ve ever believed at some point as fact may have turned out to be FUD. Corporate competitors have been spreading rumors of misinformation for years. Governments are no different. In fact, most innovations, at some point or another, have their roots in military and/or government. The internet, for instance, has its roots in ARPANET, a pentagon funded program. The deep web was also derived from the military.
“Fake news” and FUD go hand in hand. With all information being instantly accessible and Americans essentially demanding more and more of it, like drug-addled lunatics, it’s no wonder that portions of the population believe that vaccines cause autism or that gender has no biological basis. The ideas of scientific validity, statistically significant findings, peer-reviewed sourcing, and ethical journalism have gone by the wayside. “I read it on the internet” is enough validity for many readers, and they have a URL or youtube video as citations for their hypothetical nonsense.
This disinformation is being used against us by foreign actors, political interests, and anyone that feels the urge to stir the pot. The pot is currently as stirred as I can ever remember it. People are falling for this. Even if you deem yourself “educated” and “informed,” you have at least experienced it. This experience has left me looking at all information with a certain hyper-paranoia as to its credibility.
FUD is a great threat to the tiny fibers that hold together the cheap t-shirt of society. If a doctor tells you that a vaccine doesn’t cause autism, it is because it has been studied ferociously, and the findings of those studies have indicated no causation betwixt the two. This is based on fact and documented evidence. When I see something that doesn’t make sense, I question it. Then, I search for data that supports or thwarts my assumptions. Sometimes I am right, and sometimes I am wrong. I am more thankful for the times that I am wrong because I actually learn something, which allows me to grow as a person and humbly gives me perspective. It is OK to be wrong. In fact, it is a good thing. If everyone knew everything, we’d have nothing to learn and cease to develop. What’s the fun in that?