Thursday, February 17, 2022

MSNBC examines disinformation and 'insider threats' to the 2022 elections

It's a mid-term election year, so today I'm pivoting away from the pandemic to elections and government with yesterday's State Election Officials Battle The Spread Of Disinformation Ahead Of Midterms from MSNBC.

Arizona Secretary of State and candidate for governor Katie Hobbs and senior opinion writer for The Boston Globe Kimberly Atkins Stohr discuss how election workers around the country are fighting against conspiracy theories and misinformation ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
For more about election misinformation and other threats to local election administration, read the Politico article Nicolle Wallace quoted, Election officials are on the frontlines of defending democracy. They didn't sign up for this.
Voting for the 2022 midterms is already underway, and the nation’s top election officials are caught fighting a two-front war: Battling disinformation stemming from the last election, while simultaneously preparing for the next one.

The officials are no longer just running elections. They’ve become full-time myth-busters, contending with information threats coming from the other side of the globe — and their own ranks.
They’re dealing with political candidates undermining the election systems that they still run for office in, and conspiracy theories that target even the most obscure parts of America’s election infrastructure. And they say the country will face the same issues this year as it elects a new Congress and decides control of three dozen statehouses.
The struggles stemming from misinformation vary state-to-state, from dealing with threats of violence against election workers at all levels to contending with so-called insider threats — election workers who themselves pose a security challenge to the system.
One of the insider threats the article mentions is Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters of Colorado, who was the subject of Election Denier Under Investigation Is Running To Oversee Elections In Her State on "All In" the night before last.

“There is a possibility that this lady, who is currently under investigation for allegedly tampering with election machines, who actively pushes Donald Trump's Big Lie,” says Chris Hayes, “That woman could conceivably be in charge of overseeing all of Colorado's elections in 2024.”
Time to recycle what I last repeated in Colbert and Klobuchar on the insurrection one year later.
It looks like the people who buy Trump's "Big Lie" are learning from last year's failed effort to overturn the election by not just working the refs, but replacing them. I'm going to recycle my reaction from April in response.
Personally, I'd rather call it Trump's dangerous delusion, his fixed belief that the election was stolen from him despite all evidence, which I see as related to his vulnerability to conspiracy theories, but "the Big Lie" is the established phrase used by CNBC and others, so I'm calling it that instead. It's a lie, too.
To paraphrase what I wrote last month, Benson's remarks show that Trump's delusion is not just dangerous but contagious.
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold's response to Peters' behavior shows that, too.

So, what can the voters do to prevent candidates who pose an insider threat do? Run for something! Watch Alex Wagner substituting for Rachel Maddow reporting Wave Of New Candidates Eager To Counter Wave Of Right-Wing Activists In Local Elections.

Amanda Litman, co-founder and executive director or Run For Something, talks about the surge in interest in running for local office and the importance of supporting quality, non-kooky candidates in low level races to preserve the functioning and integrity of democracy in the United States.
If my readers can't or won't run for something, at least support the candidates who oppose the supporters of "The Big Lie" in this year's state and local elections. Our democracy depends on it!

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