Narratives are the stories which journalists and pundits create and share with the world. They are where disinformation lives, thrives, and is spread. The difference between accurate, good-faith narratives and false narratives is that good-faith narratives contain only accurate evidence and testimony. False narratives often include distorted truths mixed with accurate information. In order to tell fact from fiction, we need to focus on specific ideas. To simply argue narratives is never going to get us where we want to be.
Some ideas around this:
- Ben Nimmo created "The Four D's of Disinformation." They are: dismiss, distort, distract, and dismay. Distortion of the facts can only be resolved by closely examining the assertions of everyone who is making assertions about a topic.
- He also says that disinformation today is mostly about making someone angry or afraid. Single ideas don't carry the same emotional baggage as narratives and so they are easier to discuss, rather than conclusions, which are usually the arena in which narratives exist.
- RT and similar propaganda outlets rely on trust in order for their disinformation to take hold in the public mind. That's why they produce 80% quality journalism and mix their 20% disinformation into it. If we focus solely on narratives (conclusive storylines) instead of details, we will not succeed in having productive conversations which create a shared reality for everyone.
The Four D's of Disinformation:
- Dismiss. Discredit a source of information without addressing their ideas.
- Distort. Change the details that don't fit your narrative.
- Distract. Change the subject, usually to something that the other person has supposedly done wrong.
- Dismay. Emotionally destabilize the enemy by invoking fear.
Without focusing on specific ideas, we will never be able to address or resolve most disinformation.
Continue to Our Methods: The Map.