Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Play

Does North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's criminal-justice reform go far enough? Plus, Congress is running out of time to prevent a shutdown and default, and Oregon tackles climate change.

Play

The nation's murder rate is up, the Senate votes on raising the debt limit, the DEA warns about fake prescription painkillers, a new version of DACA could be on the way, and John Hinckley, Jr. could go free next year.

Play

A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

Experts Warn of Candidates Pushing Conspiracy Theories in Arizona

Play

Monday, October 5, 2020   

TEMPE, Ariz. -- As Arizonans head to the polls, experts say that to make an informed choice, they should study and understand each candidate's position on the issues.

But they also warn - this being 2020 - voters also should be aware some candidates base their positions, at least in part, on unproven conspiracy theories spread over social media.

Bradley Adame, associate professor for the Center for Strategic Communication at Arizona State University, teaches social influence and messaging science and said fringe groups are using social media to insert their bizarre and sometimes vile narratives into the political discourse.

"One of the great benefits of social media is that you don't have gatekeepers," Adame explained. "So in traditional media, you have an editor or somebody who decides what is going to make it into the public discourse. Somebody said 'yes' and 'no.' With social media, you don't really have that. So anybody can post anything."

Adame said some politicians have aligned themselves with, if not outright embraced, groups such as QAnon or the Patriot militia movement.

Experts say their tales of the "deep state" or child-trafficking rings have gained an alarming number of believers. The FBI has designated such groups as domestic terror threats.

Adame said social media's failure to control such content is a major part of the problem.

"If I can select certain voices and unselect other voices, I then get to pick out the people whose message I like, whose message I agree with," Adame noted. "And all of a sudden it becomes this echo chamber where I'm only hearing the voices that I already agree with."

He said such false conspiracies play into the hands of Russian or Chinese agents, who amplify the messages on social media to pit groups of Americans against each other.

He added people need to dig deeper when a story doesn't make sense.

"People are not verifying sources, they're not reading any deeper, they're just sort of reading headlines," Adame cautioned. "We see a lot of that, where people aren't really critical consumers of information. That can be really dangerous."

While sites such as Facebook and Twitter have taken some steps to counter conspiracy-theory postings, Adame believes they need to do more. Voters also can go on websites such as Snopes.com or FactCheck.org to check out suspicious information.


get more stories like this via email

Public schools need to minimize arrests at schools by using emergency mental-health teams instead of police officers to address behavioral incidents at school, according to a Sentencing Project report. (Adobe stock)

Social Issues

ARLINGTON, Va. -- As a Northern Virginia school system transitions away from using police officers in schools, a new report suggests COVID stimulus …


Social Issues

AURORA, Colo. -- School districts across Colorado had to get creative to ensure families could access critical meals during pandemic-related closures…

Environment

SUPERIOR, Wis. -- Legal proceedings continue involving a proposed natural-gas plant for northwestern Wisconsin. The plans have been approved by state …


Electricity use is the second-biggest source of carbon emissions in Oregon. (Beyond Toxics)

Environment

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Draft rules are out for a program designed to confront climate change in Oregon, but organizations say it does not go far enough to …

Social Issues

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said lawmakers are slated to vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Thursday…

Doctors say medicines given to livestock, including ivermectin, frequently contain other ingredients that are not meant for human consumption. (carola68/Pixabay)

Health and Wellness

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A veterinary drug doctors call unsafe for treating COVID-19 has caused the deaths of two people in New Mexico, according to the …

Social Issues

RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed sweeping criminal-justice reform into law this month that is meant to hold police more …

Health and Wellness

BALTIMORE -- Spurred on by COVID challenges, a grant from the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council to two human services providers is …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021