Misinformation is inaccurate information. When the inaccuracy is pointed out to the source, the source usually runs a correction, which will never be seen by 90% of the people who saw the original incorrect piece. It is usually assumed that the inaccuracy is caused by ignorance and not willful disregard of known facts. Misinformation about military affairs is extremely common nowadays. Very few “journalists” and even fewer editors know jack about the military. Way too many of them carry around in their heads a negative narrative of the U.S. Armed Forces, the same template Beauchamp was appealing to with his hoax. Embedded journalists usually wise up pretty quick, but there just aren’t that many from the MSM. “Citizens of the world” who consider “objectivity” more important than getting the story right prefer to stay in the Palestine Hotel and re-write the emails they get from their “stringers,” who feed the ignorant want they want to hear. Now when the stringers are working for the bad guys, that’s disinformation. When the stringers aren’t working for the bad guys and the “journalist” re-writes the story and gets it wrong either out of ignorance or ideological prejudice, that’s misinformation.
Anybody remember when CNN claimed Special Forces used poison gas in Laos during the Vietnam War? Was that an intentional effort to muddy the waters over Saddam’s weapons of mass distruction? What that story did was create a big stink, monopolize a lot of good people’s time who should have been working on other things, and cost the tax payers for investigations. Was that all unintentional? Maybe. Maybe not. On purpose or by accident, the ability of elements of our government and our military to deal with more pressing issues was degraded.
Misinformation may be the propaganda most vulnerable to Irregular counterpropagandists. If enough of us are on the look out for it, chances improve of one of us picking up on it and throwing the BS flag, recognizing the inaccuracy, bringing attention to the inaccuracy, and aiding the Good Guys to acquire the target and debunk it with opposing facts. Dan Rather doesn’t do the SeeBS Nightly News any more. That kind of operation is what I’m talking about. Lots of smart people online. Every “journalist” should know by now that somebody in his readership knows more about what he writes about than he does. The Regulars often choose to ignore misinformation, because the work of debunking it may not be worth the effort. It is time-intensive, resource-intensive, and in the end the Regulars are betting their credibility against whoever is putting out inaccurate info. It can turn into a Death By A Thousand Cuts. But the blogosphere doesn’t suffer from the same limitations. There are a lot of us, so our time-restraints are different. We are volunteers, so the resources come out of our hides. Most of us won’t be able to pick up on the inaccuracy until it is pointed out to us, but once we become aware of it we can get smart on it and spread it around. Blog about it, link to it, ping it, email it, talk about it, comment on the vector’s website, and generally raise enough Hell to make them run a correction this time and fact check better next time.