In a recent op-ed in The Hill penned by former DCCC Chair Rep. Steve Israel, MS1 CEO Curtis Hougland spoke to the three pillars of Trump’s disinformation strategy. He noted how the MS1 team is not only identifying disinformation, but also toppling each of those pillars through honest, compelling stories that cut against the lies.
“…First, Trump’s information is disciplined. Hougland cites Trump’s repeated lies about vote-by-mail: “Through a consistent, disciplined lie, Trump has convinced his followers to put their support of him over a pillar of American democracy.”
Second, Trump’s disinformation is emotional. It resonates with the innate fears of conspiracy theorists: deep states and socialism; caravans of immigrants pouring through our suburbs.
Third, Hougland argues, “Trump’s disinformation is everywhere. Some of his greatest fabrications famously start on Twitter but they never end there. Instead they are laundered through conservative news outlets…until even the most outrageous lies sound reasonable.
Here is an example. In trying to discredit mail voting, Trump wrote that this will be the “most inaccurate and fraudulent election in history.” The tweet became a story on Fox News, which was echoed by the faithful pundits, which was amplified by hundreds of hyperpartisan websites posing as local news websites.
Hougland and others are building a network of fact checkers and truth tellers to counter Trump’s advantage in social media. His group, Defeat Disinformation, is building a grassroots army to spread truthful, compelling personal stories to counter Trump’s lies. Hougland reminds us of the old saying: a lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can put its boots on. “So far we have tried – and failed – to slow the lies down. Instead, we must find ways to speed the truth up.”…