How Voters Avoid Evil Influence
5 ways to avoid malicious attempts to get your vote
September 17, 2020
by Corva Corvax
A Logical Opinion
Many are concerned about “election interference” during the campaign season leading up to the November election. The words mean different things to different people. Some see trolls at computer banks pretending to be Trump supporters on Facebook. Others imagine postal workers going rogue and dumping mail-in ballots.
Whatever your fear, here are five ways to avoid having your choices influenced by bad actors, be they on social media, mainstream media, or among your personal connections.
1. Look at the source of the information
Have you reason to trust your source? Think about whether they have reliably given you information you later were able to confirm.
If the source is anonymous or quotes anonymous sources, become highly suspicious. Their information is particularly shady if it is of a “bombshell” nature and matches the typical bias of the publication. It’s all a little too convenient. At the very least, wait for confirmation from less reserved sources or objective and public facts before condescending to believe someone who won’t give their name.
2. Beware of numbers
Numbers are sneaky, slippery devils, particularly when they’re used to create statistics. Think of other ways the numbers being thrown at you could be interpreted. There almost always are other ways.
Here’s an example that could easily get past many. President Trump was fact-checked (by multiple sources) on his claim that the top 20 most violent cities are Democrat run. A major TV news network attempted to refute the claim by showing that just as many Republican-led cities had experienced an increase in murder rates. Did the numbers quoted prove their point? Of course not. The RISE in violent crime is not related to the overall AMOUNT of crime that existed to begin with.
And as for Trump’s original claim, he did not prove the causality. Just because a city was run by Democrats did not necessarily mean that was the cause of the high crime.
Numbers rarely mean exactly what the source claims they mean. Be very careful with them.
3. Check with sources that disagree
If you are only reading the New York Times, you are missing half of the possible information you could be receiving. If you are only watching Fox News, you are missing half of the possible information you could be receiving. As painful as it is, your horizons will be broadened and you will have a better handle on as much objective reality as can be mustered if you force yourself to look at and listen to sources you disagree with.
4. Distinguish between fact and bias
There are many ways to insert bias even into a supposedly “objective” news story. In fact, there is no such thing as an objective news story.
The selection of each word and its order indicates a point of view. Did the author write, “Mayor condemns city block, throwing low-income residents out of their longtime homes”? Or did the author write, “Mayor acts to enforce safety codes, saving lives”? Both facts might be correct, but each opening gives a very different viewpoint.
5. Reasonableness factor
Exhibit a little common sense. Is the bombshell revelation that is going to blow the whole thing wide open within the bounds of reason? Or does it seem a little too convenient?
Famously, Donald Trump once attempted to invalidate Barack Obama’s right to run for president by claiming he hadn’t been born in the United States. Admittedly, the claims were given steam by Obama’s inability to produce a long-form birth certificate - but the underlying assertion was ridiculous. Would anyone seriously attempt to run for so scrutinized an office as the President of the United States if he did not have a legitimate right to do so? Similarly, the mainstream media’s claim that Donald Trump, candidate for U.S. President, was an agent of the Communist Russian government was absurd.
If you believed either of these claims, then you already own so much bias you are unlikely to be influenced by any information whatsoever. And you already know who you are going to vote for.