From Lee McIntyre and Jonathan Rauch in the Washington Post. This piece reflects the views developed in full in Rauch’s new book, The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth —
#StopTheSteal is not merely Trump’s way of being a sore loser or clinging to relevance (though it is those things). It is the most audacious disinformation campaign ever attempted against Americans by any actor, foreign or domestic. And it has been devastatingly effective. According to a recent Ipsos-Reuters poll, the majority of Republicans think the 2020 election was stolen, and almost half of independents either think the election was rigged or are unsure. Vladimir Putin could only dream of creating so much cynicism, doubt and distrust….
Since epistemic warfare has proved its mettle so spectacularly in U.S. politics, it is likely here for good. Measures may allow us to fight back, such as revamping social media and teaching media literacy. But our primary means of defense is to be awake to the scope and origin of the threat. The first step toward winning the war on truth is to accept that we are in one.