Countering disinformation and fake news

This short film from 2014 describes how Russia’s President Putin (and others) have deliberately used disinformation and fake news to undermine people’s perception and understanding of the world.

As the film explains, the approach is deliberately intended to create so much confusion and churning in our minds that we no longer understand what is happening: who is doing what, or why.

In the face of such confusion, the film says, our only response is to say “Oh dear” and give up…

But there is another, more useful, response. And that is to get clearer on who we are, what matters most to us, and what we are doing to achieve it.

The clearer we are about these three things, the less the fake news matters, for four reasons.

First, because if we know what our own priorities are then much of the fake news just becomes irrelevant — so we can ignore it.

Second, because even if some of the fake news does turn out to be relevant to us it doesn’t alter what we are working to achieve, though it might affect how we work to achieve it. Now our focus switches from asking “Is this story true? How can I tell?” to “If this story is true, do I need to do anything different?”

Third, because once we are clear about our own purpose and values then, no matter what happens, there will always be other ways we can achieve the same purpose (and values).

And fourth, because the more strongly we are inspiring ourselves and other people to work together to build what we care most about, the less the fake news will matter — because when we have an inspired team of people, longing to get to where we want to go, who cares what the fake news is saying?

Then our response to fake news can shift from being “Oh dear” to “So what?”

How often do you find yourself distracted from your priorities by news (fake and real) that won’t really affect you? Are you clear what your purpose and values are? Are you working to bring them to life?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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