Looking Behind the Curtain of Disinformation Campaigns

Who is doing it, why are they doing it, what is their justification for being involved?

by Eric Holdeman / February 9, 2020

This is a study that looks at disinformation campaigns, with who is involved, how the system works and why people participate and justify their participation.

See this summary, Architects of Network Disinformation The geographic setting is the Philippines, but people are people, no matter where you are. 

If you have not delved into how these networks function, it is a fairly quick summary to read. 

One of the things I always wonder about is how do people justify what they are doing? Money is always a motivator, but then they also call out moral justifications:

Moral justifications: the denial strategies and mental acrobatics that disinformation architects perform to dismiss their own personal responsibility to democratic processes and political exchange. Moral justifications include discourses of normalization (“I do the same thing for corporate brands”), fictionalization (“This is straight out of Game of Thrones”), and splitting (“This is just a sideline and not my real job”).

I heard another discussion this morning on a podcast that had a NY Times interview with Sen. Mitt Romney, before his historic impeachment vote. One of the things he spoke about was how in business and in politics, people can always find a way, in their mind, to justify their actions that provides the most benefit to them personally. 

I'll finish with this quote that I found to also be illustrative, "A person without character or ethical compass will never find his way." 

In land navigation, you need to understand where True North is to navigate with a compass. You can't "fake" True North. True North is a geomagnetic fact that does not have an alternative to it. If you want to quickly get lost and wander around in the woods, ignore True North. The same is with ignoring facts or trying to weasel your way in life by justifying your actions. You will get somewhere all right, but your final destination will not bring credit to your life and your actions. 

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