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Anyone Can Create a Meme

Disinformation is rampant and getting worse. The spread of falsehoods are undermining attempts to have a fact-based conversation. Disinformation is a tool often used by dictators to get and maintain power. Sadly, politicians in the U.S. are using lies to demonize their opposition. Donald Trump is championing this strategy and proudly declared that “if you say it enough and keep saying it, they’ll start to believe you.” That quote illustrates his lack of remorse for conning people in business and in the government. However, Trump is not the brilliant founder of the benefits of lying. “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,” said Nazi Joseph Goebbels. Does anyone see a connection here, and do you see it alarming?

Despite zero evidence of any widespread election fraud, Trump continues to spread the lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him. And people believe it, largely because Trump keeps telling them it was. For Trump, winning is the only goal, and he and his willingness to mislead people for his own purposes is outrageously dangerous. Not only does Trump attack Democrats, but in his next quest for the White House in 2024, he is offering “what-ifs,” which cannot be supported by any facts. The Trump misinformation campaign is continuing to increase discord and erode trust in democracy, the media, science, and health professionals.

In 2020, The World Health Organization declared a worldwide “infodemic,” which they say is leading to mistrust and has become a health threat. In addition, it leads to unnecessary hate and violence towards innocent people. To learn more about ways to combat misinformation, how does misinformation spread, and factors that make people believe misinformation, you can find a slew of info at The American Psychological Association.

Why is it that trust in the media has been declining among Republicans? The explanation could be that the lies they hear fit the narrative they favor on far-right media are not being reported on by traditional, reliable trusted new sources. It’s much more satisfying to hear someone repeat your opinions and not question any misguided convictions. The chart linked here (developed by AllSides Media) has rated popular news sources based on perspectives and political leanings, and they don’t lie! If you find yourself leaning too far left or too far right, you might NOT be getting the full picture.

Democracy requires transparency of government. Candidates who are not willing to reveal their tax returns and finances or who make claims that they do not back up with facts are not to be trusted, even if they are saying what you want to hear. Transparency of campaign donors are easily referenced using any of the following resources:

Donors can reveal to whom that candidate may be emboldened later down the road, by learning who is backing them. In Pennsylvania in 2022, Doug Mastriano’s campaign finance report revealed several red flags that showed engagements with questionable businesses, one for example is the now defunct Onslaught Media Group due to suspension by the Franchise Tax Board for failing to file tax returns. In addition, Mastriano promoted QAnon on X (formerly Twitter) over 50 times, including support of Pizzagate. Luckily the majority of Pennsylvanians saw through Mastriano and likely did their homework.

Next time you read something that sounds too crazy to be true (e.g., Hillary Clinton is running a pedophile ring in the basement of a pizzeria), do some real fact checking using any of the trusted sites below.

Next time you see a meme, keep in mind that it is likely not fact but just meant to be sarcastic or funny. So, enjoy the laugh, and remember that it’s a joke!






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