A: The COVID “infodemic” has made it harder than ever to cut through the noise, and election season absolutely adds to this challenge.
The good news is that Lindsey’s Laws for news diligence that we’ve been using here at Dear Pandemic to fight misinformation can ALSO apply to the political news cycle!
As we laid out in earlier posts (links below), Lindsey’s Laws help to give YOU the tools to judge news stories in your own networks. You can use these same three tips for practicing information hygiene as you evaluate the political news in the lead-up to Election Day:
1. TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE? If a news story is making outlandish statements, then you should demand overwhelming evidence! In the scientific world, we rely on scientists to replicate the same findings over and over again to add credibility to a claim, but we know that’s not quite possible in a political news cycle. So for election season, just remember: if it sounds outrageous, look for the evidence.
2. SEEK OTHER OPINIONS: Try to see the news in a new light by looking for a competing viewpoint. We often read articles that confirm what we already think, so it helps to CHALLENGE our own assumptions by actively seeking out articles that present an opposite viewpoint. This might mean looking for a news source you don’t usually follow, or simply Googling the claim to look for other interpretations.
3. FOCUS ON GOOD INFO: Try to stick to sharing confirmed information to amplify the good stuff. If you come across some misinformation that you want to debunk, use a “truth sandwich” to focus on the facts: share the truth, debunk the bad info, and then state the truth again. It helps to sandwich the false or misleading parts between the good information to keep the focus on the truth! This is SO important when it comes to critical voting info like registration deadlines, mail-in ballots, and early voting – highlight the good stuff in a “truth sandwich” for friends and family.
We get that it is hard to test the reliability of every article and claim that comes our way, but misinformation is dangerous for the COVID-19 pandemic and for election season. As you investigate claims in your social media feed or among your friends, always remember to LEAD WITH KINDNESS and take a beat before you share. Together, we can use our Lindsey’s Laws for good!
Stay safe. Stay sane.
Those Nerdy Girls