Reader 02/27/2023 (Mon) 14:28 Id: 87acbe No.19801 del
Which brings us to the new report from Brookings, which concludes that one of the most prolific sources of ‘misinformation’ is now – you guessed it – podcasts. And further, that the underregulation of podcasts is a grave danger:

In “Audible reckoning: How top political podcasters spread unsubstantiated and false claims,” Valerie Wirtschafter writes:

"Due in large part to the say-whatever-you-want perceptions of the medium, podcasting offers a critical avenue through which unsubstantiated and false claims proliferate. As the terms are used in this report, the terms “false claims,” “misleading claims,” “unsubstantiated claims” or any combination thereof are evaluations by the research team of the underlying statements and assertions grounded in the methodology laid out below in the research design section and appendices. Such claims, evidence suggests, have played a vital role in shaping public opinion and political behavior. Despite these risks, the podcasting ecosystem and its role in political debates have received little attention for a variety of reasons, including the technical difficulties in analyzing multi-hour, audio-based content and misconceptions about the medium."

To analyze the millions of hours of audio content, Brookings used natural language processing to search for key words and phrases. It then relied on self-styled fact-checking sites Politifact and Snopes – pause for uproarious laughter…exhale – to determine the truth or falsity of these statements. Next, it deployed a ‘cosine similarity’ function to detect similar false statements in other podcasts.

The result: “conservative podcasters were 11 times more likely than liberal podcasters to share claims 'fact'-checked as false or unsubstantiated.”

What would the Brookings methodology, using a different set of fact checkers, spit out if applied to CNN, the Washington Post, the FDA, CDC, or hundreds of blogs, podcasts, TV doctors, and “science communicators,” who got nearly everything wrong?

The collapse of support for free speech among Western pseudo-elites is the foundation of so many other problems, from medicine to war. Misinformation is the natural state of the world. Open science and vigorous debate are the tools we deploy to become less wrong over time. Individual and collective decision-making depend on them. Totalitarians cannot co-exist with open science and vigorous debate, and that is why they wish to squash it.