Who has the right to dis-information?

With Democratic Principles Waffling

Christina Walsh  11/18/18

We reported on the Facebook "hate-book" campaign which was clearly Russian-driven, with blatant hate groups targeting Americans of every flavor. 

Divide and Conquer is an old strategy with new digital legs in the Facebook era. In Sheera Frenken's bold New York Times exposé, it shows the apologetic and beleaguered tech giant using the usual tools of deflection and denial. "We're looking at it," with little promise of meaningful action.  

When government gets involved in dis-information, it rattles our democracy and its institutions. Department of Energy is one such agency, where the only oversight, is Congress.

Learn More

The Divide and Conquer playbook on Facebook:

What happens to democracy when truth isn't truth? Traditional propaganda follows a highly effective "business model"   

— small cells of people, coordinate for an effort that they truly believe in. If you don't pay for a're the product.

Local disinformation campaigns emboldened

Since the Woolsey Fire

Since the Woolsey fire started at Boeing's Santa Susana Field Laboratory where Southern California Edison has a substation where the fire reportedly started. 

The site is 2850 acres and boasts a "private" fire department which really consists only of a few trucks, so when the fire results in nearly 100,000 acres burned including most of the site, we have to ask the hard questions about air quality and the possibility of radioactive ash, and further spreading contamination impacts through the fire and the smoke that reached most areas of Southern California. 

We were really concerned, especially when we didn't see a mention of the SSFL or Boeing, and DTSC's Deputy Director, Mohsen Nazemi left the public meeting held at Taft High School after claiming no contamination got out, and BEFORE a single question could be asked. 

When the federal partners running the site had said that they had limited access to the site due to downed powerlines, we also questioned the claim that adequate and informing sampling had occurred and been analyzed for the stuff that was used at the site when it operated.

Learn more about the advocacy assistance for nuclear workers from Santa Susana Field Laboratory here.


Regulators protecting polluters instead of people


Process and transparency

Premature reassurances intended to "calm" people are the old favorite. It protects them from responsibility and accountability. Except, who protect the people, then?

"Nothing got out" strategy by the polluters

We know we cannot build a fence around toxic and potentially radioactive smoke. So why do the regulators tell citizens that this is the case? Because it stretches credulity to claim the site filed with toxic materials burned, but nothing toxic burned? It's just not plausible.

Independent Testing, transparent oversight

These are the only strategies acceptable to the surrounding communities who have dealt with polluter surrogates circulating false information to benefit the polluters. When the regulators get involved in silencing the public, and/or protecting the polluters instead of the people affected, we have serious regulatory oversight problems here in California and hope the new Governor will take this more seriously.