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Facts Versus Conspiracy Theories

There is a depth to these that goes beyond reason.

The Jan. 6 riot/insurrection at our nation's Capitol was perhaps the single most covered event since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Ever since that date, there have been daily news stories and videos that have been in newspapers, radio and of course on television. I remember my wife calling to me to come watch TV that day, since I was up working in my office. Most people were riveted to their TVs. 

Then, for those who watched the impeachment trial of former president Trump, there was much more coverage for what happened that day and the weeks and months leading up to Jan. 6. 

Still today — this from Politico:

"Conspiracies still linger about whose side the rioters were on. While 83% of Democratic respondents believed (correctly) the rioters were supporters of Trump, Republicans were split: 43% said the rioters were Trump supporters, 29% Trump opponents and 27% were unsure." (That is 56 percent.)

So when you have a disaster and there is an actual dearth of information about what is going on, don't be surprised that you will be dealing with a tremendous amount of disinformation at the time of the event and in the days, weeks, months, and even years after the disaster. This disinformation and conspiracy theory issue is not going away and may actually get even bigger.

Monitoring social media has never been more important in your efforts at rumor control. 

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.
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