Tessa Murphy, assistant professor of history, is this year’s recipient of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Award for Teaching and Research. The award will be presented at the Maxwell School’s virtual Graduate Convocation on Saturday, May 22. As this year’s Moynihan…
‘The Election Will Bring a Hurricane of Misinformation’
Whitney Phillips, assistant professor of communication and rhetorical studies in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, authored an op-ed for Wired: “The Election Will Bring a Hurricane of Misinformation.”
Phillips, an expert on disinformation and political communication, says the 2020 presidential election is a hurricane. The storm will bring chaos to the nation, causing panic and uncertainty over who has won the race, if there will be a peaceful transfer of power and the future of our democracy.
Phillips argues that there are two natural responses to the election storm: evacuate or run. By evacuate, Phillips means that some people will completely detach from the all too stressful world of social media. However, she notes that this response “would be a breach of civic responsibility.” Others may run towards the storm, Phillips says, by throwing themselves into an endless cycle of engagement with the issue. But this, too, poses a threat.
Ultimately Phillips argues that to best protect ourselves and our nation, there must be a balance between the two responses. To determine how to find your own personal balance between the two responses, Phillips recommends thinking about how you can change your online space to reduce social media fatigue.
“To start the process, ask yourself how you might reconfigure your online spaces so you can more easily jump between things that stress you out and things that bring you peace. Ask yourself how you might maintain healthier boundaries online,” writes Phillips. If, as a nation, we are expected to survive the storm of the 2020 election, Phillips says we all must take these steps to ensure our collective emotional well-being.