Election misinformation targeted at Latinx communities

Election misinformation is the topic of a Sept. 25 article in The Hill, Disinformation, QAnon efforts targeting Latino voters ramp up ahead of presidential election.  NLP founder and CEO Alan C. Miller weighs in on why NLP and the Open Mind Legacy Project joined forces on an election misinformation PSA campaign. “We know that in the current climate disinformation is rampant and we wanted American voters to have very clear guidance, especially during the pandemic, on how to vote,” Miller says.

“We all need to become upstanders for facts and give facts a fighting chance,” he says. “I think that we need a new sense of personal responsibility around the news and information that we consume, and particularly that we share.”

Miller likened it to shifting the ethos around other issues, such as drunk driving, littering and smoking.

“Because ultimately, the consumer is really in charge of what they see and where and when and how they see it, and most important what they do with it. I think people need to play a more responsible role and also push back against those who are sharing and creating and sending things that they should not be.”

The Sift featured weekly in blog by Valerie Strauss of Washington Post

The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss features content from The Sift® in her blog Answer Sheet weekly through the school year. This is the first installment of the 2020-21 academic year.

Reliable Sources newsletter features PSA campaign

The Sept. 13 edition of CNN”s Reliable Sources newsletter, by Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy, included a paragraph about NLP’s election misinformation PSA campaign, with a link to a USA Today op-ed about it.

“The News Literacy Project and The Open Mind Legacy Project are distributing PSAs “to combat malicious fabrication, bots and online trolls that seek to mislead voters and suppress voting.” Alan C. Miller and Alexander Heffner explain the initiative here… (USA Today).”

Op-ed promotes PSA campaign on election misinformation

NLP’s founder and CEO Alan C. Miller and Alexander Heffner, host of The Open Mind on PBS and president of The Open Mind Legacy Project, discuss how the two organizations joined forces to develop a national PSA campaign in a commentary for USA Today Sept. 13. The piece We’re launching an election-season ad campaign to fight fake news, and we need your help outlines the threat misinformation poses to the 2020 election and our democracy and how the campaign aims to reach the most vulnerable voters.

“Our PSAs, which will air in Spanish and English, debunk myths about voting, encourage voters to break out of their filter bubbles, and advise them to verify facts with multiple sources before sharing social media posts. The campaign will focus especially on Black and Latinx populations particularly hard hit by the pandemic that were targeted in previous election-related misinformation campaigns and remain vulnerable to suppression,” they write.

N.Y. Times: Addressing misinformation and older adults

NLP founder and CEO Alan C. Miller tells the The New York Times about NLP’s expanded mission, which includes addressing misinformation and older adults. “Our hope is that older adults will be major consumers of these resources and become part of the information solution, instead of the misinformation problem,” Miller says in the Sept. 11 piece Getting Wise to Fake News.




Russian disinformation tactics likely fuel racial division

NLP’s Peter Adams explains how  Russian disinformation campaigns likely fuel U.S. racial divisions in a Sept. 2 segment on Newsy, False Information Escalates Anger At Protests Across The United States.

“We know from the actions of the Internet Research Agency and Russian agents in 2016 that racial division in the U.S .was something they targeted a lot. And, you know, this is another opportunity for them to do that. And they are no doubt, you know, seizing on it,” Adams says.

He reminds viewers: “When falsehoods are repeated enough times, when we hear them enough times, they can take on a kind of truth. It diminishes the impact of assembly and organized protest.”


Adams explains digital trickery in Mozilla’s ‘Misinfo Monday’

Peter Adams explains digital trickery, including deepfakes and cheapfakes, in the Mozilla Foundation’s Aug. 31 installment of Misinfo Monday: Deepfakes and Other Trickery in Imagery.

“Deepfakes are algorithmically-manipulated digital assets,” Adams says. “Deepfakes can be video or audio or even, nowadays, just an image.”

While deepfakes are computer-generated, they are not the same as the  computer generated imagery (CGI) found in many films. “CGI that movies use is imagery that is entirely fabricated in post-production by digital artists,” he says. “A deepfake, on the other hand, uses an algorithm that has learned how someone’s face looks and moves, and maps that onto authentic footage.”

But far more common on the internet are easier-to-create cheapfakes. “A cheapfake is a video or image that simply gets taken out of context,” Adams explains. “For example, taking an old photo of a crowd and saying it was an anti-Covid 19 protest. Or the crudely doctored video of slowed-down Nancy Pelosi. Cheapfakes are incredibly easy to do, since they generally only require you to copy/paste.”



COVID-19 misinformation causes, factors topic of segment

NLP’s Peter Adams discusses COVID-19 misinformation causes and contributing factors in an Aug. 31 segment for Northern Public Radio, What Contributes to COVID-19 Misinformation?

Some causes include a lack of understanding about the science involved in addressing a pandemic, the public’s inability to recognize the difference between fact-based journalism and opinion, the proliferation of news sites and postings that lack credibility, and consumers’ failure to identify credible information.

On the latter point, Adams says: “Trustworthy information doesn’t actually ask you to trust it. It shows you why you should.”

The segment was rebroadcast Sept. 1 on Peoria Public Radio (WCBU)  and on All Things Considered on NPR affiliate WSIU.

Varied news media diet important for being well-informed, Adams says

In the article What Really Happened? The Value of a Diverse Media Diet for the nonprofit organization The Field Foundation of Illinois, NLP’s Peter Adams discusses how having a varied news media diet helps news consumers stay reliably informed. “One mistake I think a lot of people make is to say flat out don’t get your information from social media,” he says “That’s a broad brush because it depends on who you are following and who you are following who you trust. Facebook is not a source, but what trained journalists post is going to be more credible than what random people are posting.”





QAnon lesson is revisited in the Washington Post

The Washington Post’s education reporter Valerie Strauss revisits a lesson from The Sift about the QAnon conspiracy theory. Her Aug. 25 column A lesson on QAnon for teachers to use in class includes updated information about QAnon’s resurgence in recent days. The next day blogger The Big Education Ape Blogspot  picked up the column.



Virtual discussion centers on role of a free press in democracy

The role of a free press in a democracy was the topic of discussion between NLP founder and CEO Alan Miller and former Library of Congress Publishing Office writer/editor Linda Barrett Osborne during a Poetry & Prose Live event Aug. 20. The virtual discussion, Guardians of Liberty: Freedom of the Press and the Nature of News,  explored how the First Amendment right to a free press has been essential to a functioning democracy throughout American history.

School Library Journal covers NLP expansion news

On Aug. 20 The School Library Journal included news of NLP expansion efforts: News Literacy Project Creating Educator Network and Offering Free Checkology.