Americans, False Information Encourages Hatred And Extremism, According To A New Poll
According to a recent poll that reveals widespread and considerable worries about false and misleading claims ahead of next month’s midterm elections, Americans from across the political spectrum believe that disinformation is boosting political extremism and hate crimes.
About 75 percent of American citizens believe that inaccurate information is causing people to hold more extreme political opinions and act violently toward others because of their ethnicity, religion, or gender. That is supported by a survey conducted by the Pearson Institute and the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Republican Brett Reffeitt, 49, of Indianapolis who took part in the study stated, “We’re at a place where the misinformation is so severe you can trust very little of what you see in the media or social media.” It’s all about gaining clicks, not telling the truth, and attention is drawn to the extremes. Regardless of political ideology, Americans think that misinformation is having an impact on the nation, according to a survey by the Pearson Institute and AP-NORC.
The majority of respondents (91%) consider the dissemination of false information to be a problem, with 74% categorizing it as a major issue. Misinformation is an issue, according to only 8% of respondents. According to the survey, large majorities of both parties—80% of Democrats and 70% of Republicans—say that misinformation fosters extreme political viewpoints. Similar to this, 72% of Republicans and 85% of Democrats agree that spreading false information fuels hate crimes, including violence motivated by race, religion, or gender.
Overall, 77% of respondents believe that disinformation encourages hate crimes, while 73% believe that it increases extreme political viewpoints. New York City resident and independent Rob Redding, 46, remarked, “This is not a sustainable course.” Redding, a Black man, expressed concern that false information will fuel further political polarisation and heinous hate crimes. People are so unaware of how risky and polarising this situation is.
The majority claim that false information encourages people to become more politically active. Though less than half of Americans indicated they were extremely worried about spreading false information, around 7 out of 10 said they were at least somewhat concerned about having been exposed to it. This is in line with earlier surveys that revealed people are less likely to take responsibility for the dissemination of false information than to place the blame elsewhere. Inaccurate information, according to 50% of American people, lowers faith in the government.
Shirley Hayden, a 74-year-old Republican from Orange, Texas, said: “Just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true.” “A lot of it is just causing trouble and a lot of it is opinions. No longer do I believe any of it. According to the poll, Americans who consider disinformation to be a serious problem are more likely than those who do not to believe that it contributes to extreme political opinions and mistrust of the government. Additionally, they are more likely to use websites that fact-check claims or run assertions through several sources in an effort to stop the spread of false information.
Approximately three-quarters of adults say they refrain from sharing anything on social media at least occasionally because they don’t want to propagate false information; of those, about half say they refrain from doing so the majority of the time. Similar percentages constantly verify the news sources they come across as well as other information sources to make sure they are not encountering false material. Only 28% of Americans use fact-checking websites or applications “most of the time,” although 35% use them occasionally. A third claim to do so either rarely or never. “This information is all over my Facebook page. On TV, I witness it. Democrat Charles Lopez, 63, of the Florida Keys, said of the false information he encounters, “I see it everywhere. Nobody investigates whether something is phony or not, In recent decades, there has been a correlation between the growth of social media and the collapse of conventional, frequently local news venues.
The findings of the Pearson Institute/AP-NORC poll did not come as a surprise to Alex Mahadevan, the director of Media Wise, a media literacy program that was started by the Poynter Institute and aims to provide people with defenses against false information. Uncertainty, polarization, and the demise of local journalism are a perfect storm that has led to a torrent of false information, according to Mahadevan.
According to Helen Lee Bouygues, founder, and president of the Paris-based Reboot Foundation, which studies and promotes critical thinking in the digital age, people can learn how to recognize false information and avoid believing dubious claims. First, Bouygues advised using a number of dependable, well-known sources for news and fact-checking.
She also urged people to think twice before sharing anything that makes use of strong language, personal insults, or inaccurate comparisons, as well as to double-check assertions that appear to be intended to play on strong emotions like fear or wrath. People may take basic precautions to safeguard themselves, according to Bouygues.
Lopez, a survey respondent from Florida, claimed he had lost friends as a result of confronting them about false information they had put online and that new regulations were required to compel tech firms to take additional measures to combat false information. If voters can cut through the cloud of false information before the election next month, he suggested, perhaps that will transpire.
Lopez, a survey respondent from Florida, claimed he had lost friends as a result of confronting them about false information they had put online and that new regulations were required to compel tech firms to take additional measures to combat false information. If voters can cut through the cloud of false information before the election next month, he suggested, perhaps that will transpire. There is always hope, Lopez remarked. “We’ll wait and see how this election turns out. Maybe give me a call back at that time.”