Time correspondent: American voters are plagued by a 'nation of misinformation'

Posted October 18, 2020 7:49 p.m. EDT

— Misinformation has claimed the spotlight yet again ahead of the 2020 election. So much so that many American voters seem to care less and less what's proven to be fact or false, Time Magazine national correspondent Charlotte Alter says.

On Sunday's broadcast of "Reliable Sources," Atler told CNN's Brian Stelter that a number of voters in this election are facing what she calls 'unlogic.' It's a term she describes as a mentality rooted in things that are not true.

"It's people whose entire world view and way of looking at the world is rooted in this opposition to authority, this opposition to fact-checking, this opposition to verification," Atler told Stelter.

This comes as pressures mount against Big Tech to combat the spread of misinformation across their platforms.

Earlier this month, Facebook banned QAnon three years after the conspiracy group began. The company said it would ban any pages, groups and Instagram accounts from its platforms.

It also precedes other efforts by both TikTok and Twitter to get a handle on the spread of false information.

TikTok ramped up its removal efforts of content and accounts that promote QAnon as part of its disinformation policy it says has been in effect for at least "a couple months."

Twitter has also rolled out more efforts against disinformation including restrictions on predeclared election results and warning labels on tweets to prevent the sharing of false information about the election.

President Donald Trump has used Twitter in the past to spread misinformation. For instance, earlier this year he railed against "mail-in voting" while defending "absentee voting," baffling experts who say those voting systems are essentially the same thing. The claims included some of his previously debunked claims about voter fraud. There is no widespread fraud in US elections.

And earlier this month, Trump retweeted a post from an account linked to QAnon that alleged "Biden and Obama may have had Seal Team 6 killed," Osama Bin Laden was still alive, and that the man killed in the Obama-directed raid lead by Seal Team 6 was actually a body double.

In the early morning hours of May 2, 2011, Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by US Special Forces during a raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A DNA test was conducted, confirming it was bin Laden. He was buried at sea.

But despite fact-checking and verification efforts from a number of sources including Big Tech platforms, Atler argues, it may not be enough to convince some voters in "a nation plagued by misinformation."

"There's no way to puncture that because when you present opposing evidence it's too challenging to their world view, so they kind of end up dismissing it," Atler said.

- Marshall Cohen, Tara Subramaniam and Holmes Lybrand contributed to this report

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