National PSA campaign will educate voters to combat election misinformation
Spots will air across the country on Comcast, Scripps and other video and audio outlets.
WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 10, 2020 — The News Literacy Project (NLP) and The Open Mind Legacy Project (OMLP) released public service announcements today to educate voters on how to avoid being misinformed about the November elections. Comcast, The E.W. Scripps Company and public media stations will air the video and audio PSAs, which also will be featured in a paid and organic digital ad campaign on social media and other streaming platforms.
As the election approaches, misinformation and disinformation about the voting process by both domestic and foreign sources have the potential to undermine the democratic process. U.S. intelligence officials have issued warnings that other countries are already using such tactics to sow confusion and interfere in the election.
NLP and OMLP’s initiative aims to prevent voters from being misled by false information, such as being told that they can vote by text or by phone, that the election is canceled or that polling places are closed or have been moved.
“Our mission is to help people learn to sort fact from fiction so that they can be engaged and informed participants in our democracy,” said NLP founder and CEO Alan C. Miller. “This nonpartisan campaign is intended to inoculate Americans against misinformation about voting and build critical thinking skills that they will use to make informed decisions throughout their lives.”
The PSAs include four 30-second and two 15-second videos in English and Spanish, as well as audio versions of the spots. They will debunk myths about voting, address the need for voters to break out of their filter bubbles and advise them to verify facts before sharing social media posts. The PSAs will drive viewers to a special webpage created to help the public understand how misinformation can influence elections. The page will include real-time examples of falsehoods, free resources for the public, blog posts with tips on understanding election-related data, downloadable graphics that show people how to identify misinformation, and quizzes and other tools to help build news literacy skills in the weeks leading up to the election.
”Foreign and domestic disinformation campaigns on U.S. social platforms tripped folks up at the polls and depressed turnout in 2016, especially among historically marginalized young and Black voters,” said Alexander Heffner, Open Mind Legacy Project president and host of The Open Mind. “Our efforts are to counter forcefully and help minimize the damage of fabrication online.”
The PSA campaign will focus on communities targeted in previous election-related misinformation campaigns that remain vulnerable to voter suppression tactics, including Black and Latinx populations. The effort is expected to reach millions of Americans.
About the News Literacy Project
The News Literacy Project, a nonpartisan national education nonprofit, provides programs and resources for educators and the public to teach, learn and share the abilities needed to be smart, active consumers of news and information and equal and engaged participants in a democracy.
About The Open Mind Legacy Project
The Open Mind Legacy Project, a civic education and media nonprofit, produces The Open Mind, a weekly public affairs broadcast and daily podcast, supporting fact-based discourse, deliberative democracy and engagement of ideas.