Urgent from Democracy NC re: Congressional redistricting hearings going on NOW. The NCGA has opened a public comment portal as part of the process. No telling how long it will be open, so comment NOW! Key points from Democracy NC:
- Draw Congressional maps that protect voters of color and other targeted populations by drawing districts that reflect the requirements of the Voting Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment
- Provide ample opportunities in the coming weeks for in-person public comment and robust debate of new maps that incorporate that feedback in the creation and alteration of districts
- End any redistricting processes that use race and partisan considerations to drive how and where we vote.
Register with Flip NC for a December 8th SUPER Canvass coordinating with grassroots volunteers across NC. Join an existing canvass or knock on doors in your area with a few friends. Details at the link.
Join the Coalition for Health Care of NC on Nov 21 for "Get Out the Vote for Health Care," featuring representatives from several Triangle-based progressive GOTV groups, plus inspiration from Gerald Givens, Jr, of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP! Stanford Warren Library in Durham, 6:30pm.
It's not even 2020, and disinformation is flying already - if it ever stopped. The New York Times reported this week that "A few hours after polls closed in Kentucky last Tuesday, a Twitter user writing under the handle @Overlordkraken1 posted a message to his 19 followers saying he had 'just shredded a box of Republican mail-in ballots'... Within hours of @Overlordkraken1’s tweet, as it became apparent that Mr. Bevin was trailing in the vote tally, hyperpartisan conservatives and trolls were pushing out a screenshot of the message, boosted by what appeared to be a network of bots, and providing early grist for allegations of electoral theft in Kentucky." (paywall, limited free views/month).
We know that foreign actors used and are continuing to use social media and select "news" outlets to foment conspiracy theories and disinformation intended to sow discord and decrease confidence in election integrity. They succeeded in 2016, and even Senate Republicans recently joined a sweeping call for Congressional action (paywall, limited free views/month). At this point, the White House continues to turn the blind eye of denial (and spread its own disinformation) to the whole issue and thus the federal government is giving little more than lip service to addressing it in 2020. We need to be educated and alert to what it looks like and share what we know with others.
While Twitter has banned political ads, that doesn't solve the problem, as discussed in this excellent piece from TechCrunch, which also addresses Facebook. Twitter is not a major platform for political ads, and this policy doesn't address organic user tweets like the one above. Plus there are fake audio files and videos making the rounds, NPR reports. Bloomberg updated a good overview in October: Facebook, Twitter, and the digital disinformation mess.
In October, Facebook took down four new foreign interference operations originating in Iran and Russia. That's great - and how many more are there? And a lot of disinformation is homegrown. Vice reported last week on a study by the human rights group, Avaaz, that showed "that in the last three months there were 86 million views of disinformation, which is more than 3 times as many as during the preceding 3 months." Avaaz is calling on Facebook and all other social media platforms to immediately implement its Correct the Record program, which means working with independent fact-checkers to ensure that every user who has seen or interacted with false information is notified and offered a correction. There's a lot of great information at the Correct the Record site, check it out and support their work with a donation if you can.
What can you do to avoid falling into the trap of believing and sharing disinformation?
- Symantec has tips for spotting Twitter bots.
- For all its faults, Facebook has a good list of tips for spotting fake news. Briefly:
- Be skeptical of headlines
- Look closely at the link
- Investigate the source
- Watch for unusual formatting
- Consider the photos
- Inspect the dates
- Check the evidence
- Look at other reports
- Is the story a joke?
- Some stories are intentionally false.
- If you mistakenly share disinformation, share a correction and delete the original post (if possible) when you learn of it.
- Check out the resources at the News Literacy Project.
- Forbes has a solid list of journalism brands where you'll find facts.
- The Media Bias Chart isn't perfect, but it helps sort out the political leaning and reliability of many news outlets.
- Sign and share this petition from the Brennan Center for Justice to stop foreign interference in our elections.
- Spread the word with your NC friends that REAL ID is NOT needed to vote in 2020! This is a rumor that's spreading, source(s) unknown, but it's clearly aimed at voter suppression. Be sure that everyone you know is clear on this and sharing correct information. Get the details here.
Tags: (2020 Elections, Voter Suppression, Disinformation, NCPol)
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