How a Road Trip Through America's Battlegrounds Revealed a Nation Plagued by Misinformation

GURPS

INGSOC
PREMO Member
The more people I met, the more I detected something deep and unpredictable lurking beneath the surface, something that I wasn’t sure was reflected in the polling data, something that maybe couldn’t even be measured at all. My phone was filling with news: news about wildfires engulfing the West Coast; news about Trump reportedly calling fallen soldiers “losers” and “suckers”; news about the death toll from COVID-19 passing 200,000; news of Trump’s admitting to journalist Bob Woodward on tape that he had intentionally downplayed the virus, purportedly to avoid causing a panic. But almost nobody seemed to be talking about these headlines, and when I asked about them, people often didn’t believe them or didn’t care. I felt caught in the chasm between the election as it was being reported by my colleagues in the press and the election as it was being experienced by the voters.

Most Trump voters I met had clear, well-articulated reasons for supporting him: he had lowered their taxes, appointed antiabortion judges, presided over a soaring stock market. These voters wielded their rationality as a shield: their goals were sound, and the President was achieving them, so didn’t it make sense to ignore the tweets, the controversies and the media frenzy?


But there was a darker strain. For every two people who offered a rational and informed reason for why they were supporting Biden or Trump, there was another–almost always a Trump supporter–who offered an explanation divorced from reality. You could call this persistent style of untethered reasoning “unlogic.” Unlogic is not ignorance or stupidity; it is reason distorted by suspicion and misinformation, an Orwellian state of mind that arranges itself around convenient fictions rather than established facts.



 
Last edited:

TPD

the poor dad
The more people I met, the more I detected something deep and unpredictable lurking beneath the surface, something that I wasn’t sure was reflected in the polling data, something that maybe couldn’t even be measured at all. My phone was filling with news: news about wildfires engulfing the West Coast; news about Trump reportedly calling fallen soldiers “losers” and “suckers”; news about the death toll from COVID-19 passing 200,000; news of Trump’s admitting to journalist Bob Woodward on tape that he had intentionally downplayed the virus, purportedly to avoid causing a panic. But almost nobody seemed to be talking about these headlines, and when I asked about them, people often didn’t believe them or didn’t care. I felt caught in the chasm between the election as it was being reported by my colleagues in the press and the election as it was being experienced by the voters.

Most Trump voters I met had clear, well-articulated reasons for supporting him: he had lowered their taxes, appointed antiabortion judges, presided over a soaring stock market. These voters wielded their rationality as a shield: their goals were sound, and the President was achieving them, so didn’t it make sense to ignore the tweets, the controversies and the media frenzy?


But there was a darker strain. For every two people who offered a rational and informed reason for why they were supporting Biden or Trump, there was another–almost always a Trump supporter–who offered an explanation divorced from reality. You could call this persistent style of untethered reasoning “unlogic.” Unlogic is not ignorance or stupidity; it is reason distorted by suspicion and misinformation, an Orwellian state of mind that arranges itself around convenient fictions rather than established facts.



So wait - there were no Biden supporters who offered an explanation divorced from reality?
 
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