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Caught in the Vortex of Misinformation

Lee Rasch  | Published on 3/8/2021


Living in Wisconsin in February was one for the ages. A polar vortex piled on top of a global pandemic is leaving us scratching our heads. And many believe we are experiencing a third major force; an infodemic. We are besieged by overwhelming amounts of disinformation and misinformation.

Misinformation is defined as false or inaccurate information that is spread, regardless of intent. The companion term, disinformation, refers to false or inaccurate information which is deliberately intended to deceive. The English word disinformation is a modified translation of the Russian word dezin-formatsiya, derived from the title of a KGB propaganda department. When distinguishing between misinformation and disinformation, the key word is intent. Although both terms refer to wrong or false information, disinformation is false by design. When disinformation is shared, with or without ill intent, the result is spreading misinformation. The evidence bears out misinformation is on the rise.

Why is misinformation so pervasive today?