LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – With political ads circulating this campaign season, it’s important to know when you’ve been misinformed or disinformed.
Johannes Bauer is the Quello Chair for Media and Information Policy at MSU. He said that misinformation is spread without the intent to mislead with wrong or false information like incorrect facts or information that is innocently taken out of context, but Bauer says disinformation is much different.
“Disinformation is intentional and wants to mislead. So the goal is to mislead the recipients into believing something that is not correct,” Bauer said.
Bauer said that new innovations play a big role in spreading false information.
“Digital technology offers us so many opportunities to manipulate information. We can create computer-generated images or we can re-use images out of context of really existing people. We can combine those images with audio from a different context,” he said.
A recent ad by an anti-Proposal 3 group caused those in favor of the proposal to call the ad false and a source of misinformation.
In it, members of the Citizens to Support Michigan Women and Children claim a puberty-blocking drug could be given to children without parental consent if Proposal 3 is passed, but those in favor of Prop. 3 say that’s not true and say that wording is not included in the proposal.
While ads like these may be full of misinformation or disinformation, when it comes to casting ballots Bauer said voters have to pay attention.
” I think voters have to learn a couple of skills. Use online fact-checkers. Check that information against other sources. Use your own common sense when you listen to messages,” Bauer said.