An urgent, comprehensive explanation of the ways disinformation is impacting democracy, and practical solutions that can be pursued to strengthen the public, media, and truth-based politics
MSNBC's legal expert breaks down the ways disinformation has become a tool to drive voters to extremes, disempower our legal structures, and consolidate power in the hands of the few.
"One of the most acute observers of our time shares . . . a compelling work about a challenge that—left unexamined and left unchecked—could undermine our democracy." —Eric H. Holder Jr, 82nd Attorney General of the United States
American society is more polarized than ever before. We are strategically being pushed apart by disinformation—the deliberate spreading of lies disguised as truth—and it comes at us from all sides: opportunists on the far right, Russian misinformed social media influencers, among others. It's endangering our democracy and causing havoc in our electoral system, schools, hospitals, workplaces, and in our Capitol. Advances in technology including rapid developments in artificial intelligence threaten to make the problems even worse by amplifying false claims and manufacturing credibility.
In Attack from Within
, legal scholar and analyst Barbara McQuade, shows us how to identify the ways disinformation is seeping into all facets of our society and how we can fight against it. The book includes:
- The authoritarian playbook: a brief history of disinformation from Mussolini and Hitler to Bolsonaro and Trump, chronicles the ways in which authoritarians have used disinformation to seize and retain power.
- Disinformation tactics—like demonizing the other, seducing with nostalgia, silencing critics, muzzling the media, condemning the courts; stoking violence—and reasons why they work.
- An explanation of why America is particularly vulnerable to disinformation and how it exploits our First Amendment Freedoms, sparks threats and violence, and destabilizes social structures.
- Real, accessible solutions for countering disinformation and maintaining the rule of law such as making domestic terrorism a federal crime, increasing media literacy in schools, criminalizing doxxing, and much more.
Disinformation is designed to evoke a strong emotional response to push us toward more extreme views, unable to find common ground with others. The false claims that led to the breathtaking attack on our Capitol in 2021 may have been only a dress rehearsal. Attack from Within
shows us how to prevent it from happening again, thus preserving our country’s hard-won democracy.