BNS 505: The United States and its Long History of “Misinformation” (w/ Caleb Franz)

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Does this sound familiar? 

The looming threat of war hovers over the United States like a vulture circling its prey. A deadly virus is running through the population, forcing many to avoid highly populated areas. Furthermore, the nation is reaching a level of political division so severe that it threatens the stability of the country.

While you might think this is a description of the U.S. circa 2022, these were actually the circumstances that the nation found itself in at the beginning of the Adams administration. 

This backdrop isn’t all these two periods of history have in common, either. As Americans today are engaged in a great debate over how to handle the spread of misinformation, it would behoove us to reflect on how the first generation of Americans overcame this very issue. 

Efforts to contain misinformation have become a growing point of contention in the United States as of late. Social media giants flag and deplatform individuals who spread allegedly false information at an increasing rate. Of course, who gets to distinguish between genuinely false information and areas with legitimate room for disagreement is where things get messy. 

Today, Caleb Franz returns to the program to outline misinformation throughout history, and the role free speech plays in fighting actual misinformation.

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