I am frightened. Every American should be frightened too. I’m getting posts on my Facebook newsfeed from questionable sources, and I have no idea where they are coming from. And what really terrifies me is that this morning, when I tried to watch something on YouTube, I was subjected to a heavily propagandized advertisement about Spy Gate. Who paid for it? Who fact-checked it? Who watched it and thought it was real?

Putin’s tactic in 2016 was disseminating fake news on social media. Too many of us just can’t tell the difference. Propaganda is dangerously effective. It’s how totalitarian governments manipulate their citizens. We must figure out how to control the spread of misinformation without jeopardizing our cherished right to free speech.

Our president is going as far as to openly encourage Russia’s continued manipulation of the American people. Every single American should be worried about what Putin is getting for his trouble. And this is not fake news. Watch the interviews where Trump talks about Russian interference. He barely acknowledges it occurred and is doing nothing to prevent it from happening again.

How on earth can the American people make informed choices in any election while being flooded by propaganda? I can’t pretend to know the answer, especially while our president is indifferent and/or complicit. I am pleading with my fellow citizens to get their news from a trusted news source and not the internet. We’re all susceptible to propaganda. Even those of us who are educated and aware.

This might not end well for democracy.

Jackie Stephens

Idaho Falls

Load comments