(Forget I said that. I should cut out the 1984 references for fear that DHS will suspect me of thoughtcrime.)
So the latest threat to America's homeland comes from MDM, or Mis-Dis-and-Mal Information, and it will take trained info-cops from Homeland Security to police the marketplace of ideas for anything that might mislead, harm, or manipulate you and me.
I say, first of all, Mis-Dis-Mal needs an acronym you can pronounce, something like "Miss Dismal." Second, it needs a good judicial review because, hard as it may be to believe, there are some people who would not want federal agents and their contractors policing our public and private media for signs of MDM.
What would Thomas Jefferson say about this initiative? Or about Homeland Security itself, I wonder? But before I get on a watchlist for wondering about that, I'll stay on the safe side and let the trained info-cops of DHS explain:
Misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation make up what CISA [Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency] defines as “information activities”. When this type of content is released by foreign actors, it can be referred to as foreign influence. Definitions for each are below.
- Misinformation is false, but not created or shared with the intention of causing harm.
- Disinformation is deliberately created to mislead, harm, or manipulate a person, social group, organization, or country.
What should our corps of trained professional info-cops do about the threat posed by Miss Dismal? Naturally, it should deploy comic books – yes, comic books – to counter the influence spread by any malign 'threat actor.'
- Malinformation is based on fact, but used out of context to mislead, harm, or manipulate.
Foreign and domestic threat actors use MDM campaigns to cause chaos, confusion, and division. These malign actors are seeking to interfere with and undermine our democratic institutions and national cohesiveness. The resources provided at the bottom of this page provide examples and more information about MDM activities.They're calling this comic book "Real Fake?” Really? I wonder who it was in DHS who greenlighted that term because it makes me recall the “fake but accurate” excuse that Dan Rather came up with after he was fired from CBS News for using forged documents to – come to think of it – influence an election.First in the series, Real Fake demonstrates how threat actors capitalize on political and social issues (especially around election cycles) to stealthily plant doubt in the minds of targeted audiences and steer their opinion.Readers follow protagonists Rachel and Andre as they discover that a command center in Russia is using a network of troll farms to spread false narratives about elections to American voters. With the elections coming up, Rachel and Andre follow the trail of synthetic media and stop the cyber assailants from causing chaos, confusion, and division.
Rathergate was big news once, but that was back in 2004, when most of today’s DHS employees were in grade school. See the CBS News' final word on it here: CBS Ousts Four For Bush Guard Story.
This is where things get funny, because Rathergate had a simply hilarious aspect in that Rather and his producers exposed George W. Bush’s purported misdeeds by producing four old Texas Air National Guard memos. The perfect smoking gun, right?
But, as some TV viewers noticed the very night the story was broadcast, those memos, which were dated in 1972 and ‘73, had been typed in Microsoft Word with default settings. They had proportionally spaced font, and even superscripts (as in Rathergate), things that did not become available to office workers until Steve Jobs invented the MacIntosh computer
Although Rather still keeps on defending himself all these many years later, game over, man. Those documents weren’t fake but accurate, they were just plain fake.
I don’t think DHS intended for Americans to associate their Mis-Dis-and-Mal-fighting comic books with that failed attempt to influence the 2004 election. Although, I would be totally open to a comic book series based on Rathergate.