Combating Fake News

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Joshua A. Kincaid
  • 94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Fake news. The idea has been around for centuries but hit a fever pitch throughout the past several years.

The danger this threat presents is the barrier it creates for accurate and important information to reach the masses without distortion.

During Warrior Week, a base-wide readiness training at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga., Airmen learned how to dissect this type of information into three distinct subsets – misinformation, disinformation and malinformation.

Capt. Casey Mull, deputy chief of public affairs for the 94th Airlift Wing, led a workshop for Airmen entitled “Combat in the Information Environment.”

“As technology continues to improve, the way we receive our news and information changes as well,” said Mull. “We live in an instant news age where social media reports stories in real-time and may leave out important context. It’s our duty as public affairs professionals to train and equip Airmen with the skills to spot these untruths.”

While fake news is a well-known phrase at this point, the training clearly defined how to categorize these sources of information.

  • Misinformation – Unintentional mistakes such as inaccurate photo captions, dates, statistics, translations or when satire is taken seriously
  • Disinformation – Fabricated or deliberately manipulated audiovisual content; intentionally created conspiracy theories or rumors
  • Malinformation – Largely accurate information that is based in reality, but may be presented out of context to inflict harm on a person, organization or country

“It’s also important to note that news outlets are in the money-making business and to a certain degree have an agenda, especially if you are not paying for access to the information,” said Mull. “We encourage Airmen to read through several news sources to get a well-rounded understanding of the subject at hand. This allows for the reader to separate fact from fabrication.”

Prepare yourself to combat false information by fact checking other outlets reporting on the subject, research the source and circle back to see what outlets have provided updates on the coverage.

Think you can separate the fake news from the truth? Take this short quiz to test your skills in identifying real people from adversaries sharing information –*.


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