rp daily: the current state of misinformation

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the current state of misinformation. in the world of COVID-19, misinformation runs rampant. from international interference to at-home video productions, the internet hosts misinformation and spreads it similarly to a disease. guest clint watts discusses this misinformation: what is it? where is it coming from? how can we spot it, and know what to truly believe? tom and rp cover the top pandemic conspiracy theories, and get to the bottom of knowing if a news source is legitimate. clint watts is a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and Non-Resident Fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy. he is also a national security contributor for NBC News and MSNBC. clint is the author of the book Messing with the Enemy: Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians, and Fake News. 

tom scott is chairman & co-founder of the nantucket project. rp eddy was the architect of the Clinton administration’s pandemic response framework and the United Nations response to the global AIDS epidemic & is CEO of global intelligence firm Ergo.  

rp is co-author of the best-selling award-winning book Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes with Richard A. Clarke, Former National Security Council counterterrorism adviser.

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transcript

 

Tom Scott [00:00:22] Clint’s coming to us from Cold Spring, New York, so, so, listen, the last time we were here, we talked about. We talked about disinformation, you know, and. You know, clearly, there’s just been a flurry of that kind of activity over the last period of time and, you know, and for for us, we keep saying we wanted to revisit this conversation for for many reasons. So if I were going to make observations and if you had asked me, OK, what places are going to grow and what places are going to shrink in the disease? I’ll show you this and we’ll make it clean and post. But I would have said West Virginia is going to rise. Arkansas is going to rise. Alabama is going to rise. And sadly, Louisiana is going to rise. And that’s just based on observations in the way I just saw the culture reacting as I was traveling. And you look here, RP. And sure enough, West Virginia, by the way, was my first stop. And I checked into a Holiday Inn Express and it was like nothing had changed. Like the breakfast bar was open in the morning. No one who was working there was wearing a mask. And I was like, whoa, this is strange. And then you see the first one mentioned there is West Virginia, by the way, I just want to say before says I say this with great respect. I don’t want any of these things. I’m I’m not rooting for this. That makes me sad to see that. But my very unscientific observation of humans would suggest that that’s where it was gonna go. And that seems to be where it’s going. And and RP, if you just wanted to comment on that? 

 

RP Eddy [00:01:54] I think I think that it’s also we still have to remember that while the trends are going up, the numbers are very small. Thank God. And let’s hope they stay small, meaning the behaviors that you see in all these we talked about last time. But again, click bait media wants you to know. Oh, my God. Look at all these partiers in the Ozarks. Look at all these people without masks in wherever they want us to look at that. And we do. Those also may be places where there’s just very, very little of the disease endemic, in which case. Let’s just hope it won’t turn into a problem. So, again, we had I had a conversation yesterday with someone who hopefully the South Korean response, interestingly enough. And Clint, you’ll appreciate this. He’s a U.S. Army colonel from the U.S. Army Medical Corps who now runs International Vaccine Institute in Seoul. He’s a Korean by heritage and he works over there now. And he helped them with their response. They’ve had 400 dead. We’ve had one hundred thousand dead. They have, what, about a fifth of the population or something. So meaning the ratios are crazy, right? But part of why part. Part. Very small. Part of why they did a better job than us. Unbelievably better job than us, even though they had less time than we had, et cetera, et cetera, was because they had mere MERS Middle East Respiratory Syndrome had ripped through there a few years ago. So they had the memory of it. They had seen it. They were limbicly activated. So when you go to West Virginia, if they haven’t seen a bunch of people dying and they haven’t seen happen, if their friend’s grandmother didn’t die, then it’s hard to take it seriously. 

 

Tom Scott [00:03:29] Yeah,. 

 

Clint Watts [00:03:29] Yeah. And that’s the issue. Sharing consequence, too, right? Like we were talking about 9/11, you know, in some comparisons. Right. Like we had this giant response on 9/11 to this terrible tragedy, which we should have responded to. But everyone experienced the Twin Towers falling. Right. We all experienced that together. You saw a unity of both political parties. You saw everybody join in. This time it is state by state and just living in, you know, New York City that first month that that feeling of hearing sirens. The streets are empty, knowing people dying, you know, getting the Facebook updates says, hey, you know, somebody died down the street or somebody in the neighborhood died, people of all ages. That creates that impact. Right. Like on New Yorkers, they they felt it. But then if you’re in the other media bubble and that’s what I was going to ask about the trip down in Mississippi. You know, I’m from Missouri. My relatives are from Mississippi River Valley. And so when I watch them on social media, the way they talk about it, it’s a it’s a fake pandemic. It’s not real. You know, it was designed for political reasons to get the president out of power. And they don’t believe it, at least not yet. And then it comes to your point, RP, which is the numbers are pretty small, like, would it really tear through Albany, Georgia it did. Right. But is that really going to happen or be replicated in other parts of country? I’m not sure. Right. It just may not happen that way. There’s so much we just don’t know. I feel like after two and half months of this in terms of the virus spread, so if you go to a place like Missouri, they may never have that sort of pandemic rip through, you know, and actually kill a lot of people that they know. And unless they have that experience they may not believe it. And it really speaks to us not having shared consequence around at this time in terms of our response. 

 

RP Eddy [00:05:20] That’s a that’s a powerful phrase, shared consequence. So West Virginia has had a hundred and nine one hundred and nine deaths. That’s not right. West Virginia will have right now they’ve had 82 total deaths in West Virginia. So far as we know, and they may have 109 by August 4th. So it’s like it’s tiny there right now. Right. Just looking it up while we’re talking, whereas Mississippi has had six hundred fifty three. And we’ll have, it appears, called a thousand by August 4th. So still teeny tiny numbers. So it’s not… shared consequence. They don’t feel it. 

 

Clint Watts [00:05:57] They don’t. Yeah. If you were on in a certain neighborhood or street in Brooklyn, you might have that many people in your area. Right. That have died. 

 

RP Eddy [00:06:03] On your block. Yeah. Wow. That’s right. 

 

Tom Scott [00:06:06] So I want to talk just briefly about some comments I made yesterday. I got some feedback on some of the comments I made about The New York Times. You know, with all the dead on the cover. And I want to repeat, because I did say it then I do have great respect for The New York Times. I, I do like to think about these things. And I know that the way these things are read in Manhattan are different than the way these things are read in Missouri. And and so I like to go through the intellectual exercise of just contemplating what it means when you essentially turn the entire front page plus into a story the way they told it. Not saying it’s bad. I’m just saying it’s interesting. I’m just saying it’s historic. I’m saying that it is something to think about and consider. And then I think it’s an interesting exercise because I think it’s far its part for people to realize this, that, you know, in today’s world, The New York Times is bigger than ever, you know, in many ways. There’s been a diminishment of all the regional and local papers and the power The New York Times become so big. And whether people like it or not, it really is a national newspaper. So when that story is told, it’s it’s looked at through a national lens and it’s going to feel different when you’re in different places. So I wanted to clarify that. And the other thing I wanted to mention was. You know, I listen, my politics. It doesn’t matter what my politics are. But. They’re not you can’t just put them on the backs on, the back of a cereal box. That’s a little more complicated than that for me. And there’s a part of me that when I think about the guy who’s in the Oval Office right now, it’s like I’m not the biggest fan. I’m not not into him. Not I’m not into that kind of thing. Doesn’t mean I disagree with him on everything. But generally speaking, some of the behavioral things I sort of have come to expect a certain level of quality, let’s say so in the middle of this. It’s important that I point this out that his story was Joe Scarborough. Which is just, you know. What are we talking about? Like, how are we getting into this? Like, what is this story and how does that relate to the bigger world? That is the context that The New York Times made this story in. I’m not saying they planned that. I’m just suggesting that it’s a really different, difficult time to sort of hold a place of balance in a narrative when the narrative is that wacky. We have a wacky narrative and that doesn’t help. So. So I want to acknowledge that. And then the other thing I would just say is that, you know, and as Dan pointed out in Dan’s father was a was an editor at the Times for many years. You know, he talked about the power of the right column in the and the. I don’t know the right word, but the gravitas of the right hand column in The New York Times and what that means. And, you know, the choice they made recently is not the first time they made that choice. They did something like this back in 9/11 and. Great. And they won a Pulitzer for it. And that’s probably deserved. I’m not that’s not my world. I don’t. But I wanted to be clear that there’s something about it that I think is beautiful and honorable and there’s something else about it that’s going to read different ways in different places. And so that was really the point I wanted to make. And it relates to today’s story and Clint. I’m just going to these are my half assed descriptions. OK, because I am no expert. But this is I just I’ve been thinking a lot about this. And so these are my terms and you can throw them in the trash or think about them any way you want. So when I think about the noise and that’s why I’m bringing it up in this context, the noise is created by all these different things today. Right. And among them are discharged Joe Scarborough story. And among them are New York Times story. Qualitatively, I’m not making a qualitative statement. I am saying quantitatively there’s a lot of shit that goes into the the noise. So in the midst of the noise is is a lot of the work, Clint, that you look at. And it’s having a massive impact on us in so many different ways. So these are my categories. You know, there’s the and I’m using this term energized, which means that there’s an active attempt. Right, which is enemy disinformation, so I say energized enemy disinformation, China, maybe. My second category, energized, greedy disinformation. It’s a way to make money. It’s a good way to make money. OK. And there’s a laziness that goes along with that, which I would call like a lack of care because of the prioritization of greed. Greed is the wrong word. I’m going to say profit. OK. Characterizing it is greed might be unfair. OK. The third energized, selfish disinformation. I think that’s what Trump does. It’s good for his power base. It’s good for his position to create some level of disinformation. The next one, I put his passive clueless bullshit. People don’t even know they’re just sort of they’re creating stories, they’re doing it passively and their, their intent may be nothing more than to show off on social media. Then I call the dopamine sales people. OK. The dopamine salespeople are the people who create these networks. And it works really well. And the dopamine aspect of it is, which is really the distribution pipes, among other things. It’s a it’s a really good business model. The one of the best business models on earth is Facebook. It works really well. They’re in the dopamine business and all the stuff I just mentioned. I’m not saying they want it. I am saying it’s pretty good for their bottom line. It’s good for their bottom line that all those previous people I outlined are in the mix. And then the last thing and this is just a there’s a little bit of a different this is how I see it, just a little bit different from the one I just mentioned, which is the the dopamine peddlers. Is the dopamine phenomenon. And so that’s Jonathan Haidt. If you if you don’t know Jonathan Haidt, he talks about the coddling of the American mind and what he describes. And I think he’s amazing, by the way he describes this really dangerous situation in the world today. That is this dopamine phenomenon of social media that holds you in that arena and distorts you in ways that are almost out of our control. You know, and obviously relates to the dopamine salesman, everyone I mentioned before. But so those are kind of the categories that I outlined. 

 

Clint Watts [00:12:11] And what I would add a I think a couple ways, I sort of think about those categorizations which are right on, you know, when we last talked, which was probably right when the pandemic lockdown started, you know, we were tracking mostly fraudsters like people descending on social media for money, trying to sell fake cures or push information or rally advertising clicks. You know, those sorts things based on crazy headlines that spikes. And I have to say that companies did pretty well this time, you know, because when it’s a public health danger, it’s really easy to come down hard and say this is fake, you know, information around a cure. They can they can sort of litigate that vis a vie their users very, very easily where they get into trouble as seen by today with President Trump essentially trying to take take away the neutral platform status. Right. Is when they get into the political speech and debate. And I have to say, over the last two months, the biggest acceleration has been, one, the international battle to blame someone else for COVID and its origins. So that’s China. That’s Iran. That’s Russia. That’s the United States countries sort of blaming, trying to retell that story. And then the one that’s really coming up on the horizon, it’s going to be it’s just going to dominate. I think the summer, which is politics mix with COVID and mail in ballots is number one. Right. There’s so much disinformation already. COVID disinfo and election disinfo will collide and it’ll become a it’ll be an international battlespace, meaning that the mail in balloting is the central issue right now. And it’s going to morph several times. Right, like between now and November. So allegations of fraud around ballots and mail in voting, that’s what kind of triggered Twitter to sort of step in about some of the president’s comments. It’s what’s caused this debate on places like Facebook about, hey, this is not true or just completely false information. I see it already bantered around. In my Missouri Facebook circles about how we just there’s nothing worse than mail in ballots like it’s the biggest crime in humanity, even though Oregon as a state has done it for decades. Right. With no issue. So. You know, it’s going to become this huge convergence of disinformation issues around how do you use or not use COVID-19 to your advantage politically? How do you use it or not use it socially? And then the scariest stuff to me has been the uprising at state capitals. You know, mass protests inspired by forces that are not entirely understood. So behind the scenes, there’s a lot of astroturfing campaigns going on and Facebook and social media. There’s a lot of money going into creating these provocations to then amplify them in social media and then in the race based extremist circles. Very frightening, particularly based on what happened in Minneapolis, the tragedy with the man dying there. You’re seeing this all ramp up at a time where everyone’s at home. People are out of a job. They’re scared. They’re consuming more social media from sources they may not understand. You know, they’re angry for a variety of different reasons. They’ve been trapped with their family. It is a pressure cooker, not just for disinformation, but for bad things to go and happen in one way or another. So I think the next 60 days, based on how the rollout goes, who will open up? If we do need to close down again, who would close? If there is an outbreak, will people believe it? You know, if we see a spike in a certain town in a certain part of the country, do they believe the information they’re getting or will it tear through a nursing home or veteran’s facility like we’ve seen it do, you know, in a lot of these places where it’s gotten out of control? So I’m curious. I know here in New York, you know, they just started, I think, yesterday with limited opening up, just very basic services. But you’re already seeing the divide just out on the street. You can tell who does or does not believe based on mask or no mask. Right. Like, we’re we’re only 60 miles from the epicenter of March and April for COVID-19 and for some people, they are in disbelief. So, yeah, I think information bubbles, it’s really going to play out in a big way in a very controversial way I look at the polls, you know, around the election. Who even knows who will get the vote, you know, in November, at least at this point? So it’s just going to be a time where there’s not a lot of good information or we’re not sure about the information that we’re getting. And I’m curious how people react if they’ll stay calm and be good people face to face like you meant. Or will it turn into a confrontation and outburst? 

 

Tom Scott [00:17:04] What is astroturfing? If I just clarify that. 

 

Clint Watts [00:17:07] Yeah. So Astroturf is when you take a campaign like planned-demic was one from the antivax community or the state capital. Like, let’s move, mobilized our protests. You create many different groups and accounts or websites that look like they’re organic but are all created by the same person. You’re essentially astroturfing the space to make it look bigger than it is. It’s like Potemkin village. But for for the Internet, it used to be an advertising technique people used to do. Now it’s kind of like every social political activist group will use a similar technique if they can. 

 

RP Eddy [00:17:41] Let me ask you a few of your questions. I’d say it’s such a treat to be with you. Thanks again for doing this. And. You and I have been working on stuff like this together, on and off since 9/11, which you mentioned earlier, so it’s nice to be able have these conversations with just after 9/11. Just quickly, antivax, is there antivax, is there more than just I would call it ignorance and the the disbelief and evidence based science behind that? Is there something nefarious behind antivax?

 

Clint Watts [00:18:09] Yeah. So this is what’s curious about the planned-demic. Right. Campaign that came out. It was really well filmed. It was well funded. It was a known antivax person. That person was known in many communities. But what they did with this antivax…

 

RP Eddy [00:18:25] Is this the woman I didn’t watch it. Was she the woman who also went on to end with the fetus is on it? 

 

Clint Watts [00:18:30]  I don’t know if it’s the same woman, but she’s well in the antivax community. She’s she’s been around quite, quite a long time. 

 

RP Eddy [00:18:37] Well known antivax. 

 

Clint Watts [00:18:41] Yep. Has a book that’s out, you know, roughly the same time as accident. Other celebrities, you know, that are talking about her book and this video. And so it takes off whenever you you know, I was on Meet the Press. We talk about I call a disinformation bonfire. Right. So you’ve got a little sea lanes of conspiracy. And if you can bring all those together, in a really well produced video at a time when people are in crisis and they either want to believe or don’t want to believe, depending on what side of the argument, you can set fire to this thing, you know, very, very quickly. And social media. And it it did. I mean, it was not only the most consumed in high trafficking thing we saw on a lot of social media platforms. I think the book went to like number three or so on Amazon, like it became a overnight bestseller. You know, her book, which is very clearly advancing vaccine conspiracies, right antivax conspiracies, that is a movement that does have a lot of natural support, but it also has corporate entities, you know, lobbyists, those sorts of things that push either for or against that movement as well. So you’ve got money, you’ve got interest, you’ve got a natural social campaign and then.. 

 

RP Eddy [00:19:52] What kind of money or like like is it just I have a friend named Amanda and she’s on Facebook and she’s an antivaxxer and she believes there’s COVID-19, but she believes you don’t have to get it if you have the proper vitamins and health that she’s your every person. And I’ve tried to engage there and try to have conversations and you can imagine how it’s gone. Is is she being is there is there neferious force behind who’s feeding this stuff to her? Or is it just a bunch of people like her who I think are Good-Hearted and actually believe this. They just don’t believe in evidence based science. But is there is a lot of love here to point to. You know what? If it’s China or Russia or some big profit motive behind it. 

 

Clint Watts [00:20:29] Yeah. I think oftentimes it’s people that are selling products on their own. 

 

RP Eddy [00:20:34] They’re selling all this garbage. 

 

Clint Watts [00:20:36] Yeah. Whenever you look at a lot of the anti vax stuff that is clearly disinformation, they’re selling a cure or a product or powders or something, you know, behind the scenes or a natural cure other than vaccines. And so those are all well and good, right? Maybe some of them do have some efficacy, but they’re not clinical trials. They’re not science based. You know, you’re not having a doctor prescribe that stuff or recommended it. So that’s that’s what I see behind the scenes. When we look at that stuff right now, the thing about antivax, which I find interesting, is if you rewind four to five years, we would see the Russian troll farm trying all the time to engage with the antivax community because it’s an anti-establishment or a populist sort of thing. And so you could look across everything from Bitcoin, which is populism for financial people. Right. To antivax, which is about health and medicine, libertarian versus anarchist side. There’s a lot of collision there. You could look across all of these themes and narratives. And what what the common thing is, is the government doesn’t know what’s good for you, you know what’s good for you. And that is a very powerful force to go on social media is to reinforce to people they know what’s best for them and then try and convince them that what’s best for them is whatever you’re selling, whatever you’re pushing, you know, is your agenda. So I think it’s pretty remarkable how that planned-demic took off so quickly. But it wasn’t something that just happened without a plan like there was. It was a very organized movement behind the scenes. 

 

RP Eddy [00:22:09] I want to make sure for sure we get back to the vote question, but I don’t want to walk away from what the space from right now. Have you seen the video that appears to be a nurse? She appeared there’s two videos of her, at least one, as she appears to be in a hospital, very distraught. She has marks in her face as if she’s taking her PPE off. And she makes comments like, I don’t know how else to put this, other than I’m wheeling and wheeling people into the gas chambers for the Nazis. And if you’ve seen that one and it’s someone spliced, it is edited. It’s it’s been pretty rampant. They splice it and edited it and effectively the message they’re trying to get through, through the editing of although she doesn’t quite say it is, you know, something along the lines of we’re intentionally killing black people. And and something like that. And then she has a new video where she’s similarly saying basically people don’t have to die from this, the ventilators are killing them, et cetera. And someone has picked it up and put real effort into editing it and pushing it out. What’s that world look like? Who’s doing that? I know it’s a huge broad question. 

 

Clint Watts [00:23:15] Yeah. So this is the part about. We hear a lot of fears about deep fakes. Deep fakes don’t scare me. To make a real deep fake. Yeah. If you remember the fake Obama. Right. Those who think that takes money takes a lot of time. It’s a lot of resources. Right. Like it doesn’t just happen overnight. Only the most sophisticated folks can do that. I worry about this, which we call shallow fakes, right, which is just small mods, you know, small edits that you can make to film, video, audio, whatever it is to speed things up or cut things and splice them. That is quick. 

 

RP Eddy [00:23:50] Adding music, even adding dramatic music to a comment. So I see it together. You a whole different editorial meaning. 

 

Clint Watts [00:23:56] Yeah. I made… Those two minute long videos are far more powerful. You can make them over and over. You can make them from different perspectives. You can make many variants very, very quickly. You can upload them. And it’s almost impossible to police in terms of content. That is the real danger. And the content itself is video. Right. So if I had anything to say about disinformation now versus like 2014 15, when we were really getting into with the Russian disinformation. It’s it’s video. It’s not text back then, bots were pushing tons and tons of text trying to get your attention. Video, as we all know, works way, way better. You see a powerful video with music scored, a woman looking passionately, you know, about COVID 19 that is going to go viral much, much quicker. And so today I worry about platforms like YouTube or a Bitchute, which is where a lot of this Bitchute is like it’s like Pastebin for Anonymous, posting a video essentially that you can link out on to other social media platforms because everyone has a camera on their phone because anyone can get video editing software and things like that. It’s remarkable how disinformation has really moved out of the let’s make fake stories or fake news or fake text to let’s film a falsified or manipulated video and pump it out in near real time. And it’s come down to everybody from a guy in his apartment in the Bronx was one of the cases that that came through. You remember the fake Pelosi video with her looking drunk? That was one that sprung up out of nowhere and all it was a simple manipulation. You have people sit around at their house making those videos and they can do it within minutes and upload it. And if they know how to amplify it, well, they can really make something trend or change people’s perceptions. You could remember the Covington High School kids, you know, down on the mall. The way that was shot, the way that was cut created immediate outrage. Right. And a massive social media response. So that’s really what I’m worried about going into. Election 2020 is a short crafted videos. These small manipulations, very low cost, very high volume. Imagine when you when it comes to voting day and someone films a fake polling place and says they showed up and they weren’t able to vote. And they’re trying to suppress a vote. They put that out the morning, over the night before Election Day. Oh, that’s a nightmare for DHS. And people are trying to, you know, ensure the integrity. 

 

RP Eddy [00:26:26] So before we get to voting, Tom, I hope you don’t mind if I drive just for two questions. Before we get to voting. A tactical question. Is there anybody? Is there an organized effort to when you know, a group of people on Facebook, start talking about some of this craziness to get in there and inject reality is there is there anyone doing it. Is it worth doing it? I mentioned I’ve been sort of doing it just as an experiment with a few few friends of mine who actually are getting pulled into some of this morass. I’m trying to come in and it’s I’m getting nowhere. It’s impossible to argue against this, but I’m wondering if there’s any organized effort to do this. 

 

Clint Watts [00:27:02] So one of the things that’s not sufficiently discussed in all of my work is the demand for disinformation, which is people want information that they want from people that look like them and talk like them. And so there is huge demand from the audience to get information that they want. So imagine like you or I or anyone going into these groups trying to convince them otherwise, what would they automatically say? You just don’t agree with my politics. You don’t know the truth that I know my facts are better than your facts. And they actually will block you out. That’s the danger of social media. If you rewound this to the nineteen eighties. Right, we only had three TV stations yet. You had the The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and your local paper. Right. Like that was it. There was a filter but it was a it was a moderate and you know, seasoned filter that new kind of like what to provide. You know, we started off talking about The New York Times front page today. That isn’t there. And so people can actually seek out that information they want. And this has been that we’ve fought the supply side of fake news, you know, trying to counter it. Maybe people like you and I going into groups. Really, it’s about demand. People want this information unless they suffer a consequence from it. They’re going to keep scooping up more and more of that information that confirms their beliefs. Yeah. It is impossible almost to get them to not believe it. And I have three people in my Facebook feed that I go to pretty routinely just to find leads to track this information, because I know they’re going to share it almost immediately. They kind of show me that will say something about facts that has no sourcing and doesn’t link to anything. So I have a bunch of numbers. If you go to the URL and click on it, a picture comes up and you go, who? And you ask them the basic questions. Who’s the author of this content? Well, I don’t know. But it’s true. I know it’s true. How do you know it’s true? Well, you know, I’ve seen it before. You know, it might be one of their answers. So, you know, it’s it’s just remarkable that demand for this information in social media platforms, they’re told not to regulate that information. They’re gonna be in a huge fight, you know, in the coming weeks about we are neutral platforms. We’re going to let you say whatever you want to say on these platforms so you can keep your access, basically. 

 

RP Eddy [00:29:18] And, of course, a lot of people who are more prone. Well, a lot of my parents, friends around Florida, really important voters, a lot of them are swing voters and very technologically naive. So they fall a, smart people highly educated fall for this right away. And they don’t know what a URL is. They don’t know what to look for. They don’t know that The Washington Examiner isn’t The Washington Post. Isn’t that isn’t that.. okay, Election? So you you you have a pretty storied background in national security, military, West Point, FBI. I’ve worked in national security as well, when I and I agree with that, you said from beginning when I look at what I look at what’s potentially coming in this country, the chaos around the pandemic may be small in comparison to the effort that may be made to not just disinformation, but to change the ability for people to vote could be unbelievable constitutional crisis. And people are just beginning to wake up to it. You know, we can wonder what the White House what what would Trump do? What will different states do? Of course, one thing most people forget is your federal balloting when you vote for a federal election. That process is controlled by your state. It’s not a federal process or some federal funding. There are some federal rules, but state by state, they largely determine where the polling places are I.D.s All these questions are state by state questions. So Republican governors can change rules. Democratic governors can change rules, et cetera. So just as sort of I think it’s a huge issue. Now, the good news is on what is it, January 2nd for okay I don’t remember, January 20th, the president, the new president takes over. What’s the Constitution say… That’s inviolate? Right. Like the Constitution is is unquestionable on that question, although it doesn’t mean you can’t have a Supreme Court conversation, et cetera. But the actual polling itself, the voting season, the voting itself is going to be amazing. So just tell us what you’re seeing, what we ought to look for. You mentioned a little bit at the beginning, but to me, this is the story. 

 

Clint Watts [00:31:19] Right? So I think going from top priority down the way to think about it, it is. Can we ensure integrity of the vote? That’s everything from cyber security, protecting, you know, polling places to voter rolls. Can we make sure we actually know who’s on the voter rolls? And now it’s this next layer, which is if we’re… 

 

RP Eddy [00:31:40] I don’t know if people realize. But in the previous, we do know there is Russian disinformation and others, Russian hacking in last election. And there was a huge number of states over 30 where it was obvious the Russians had gotten into the voter rolls. It wasn’t clear they had changed them or not. But they actually there was Russian presence hacking presence in those rolls. And while I say there are 30 states, the problem is the other 20 were so poorly designed for cyber security, they could even tell right? Now, if you can get if you were in cyber security, say if you have access, then you have the ability to manipulate. Right. So if you can get in there and screw the voter rolls, you know, that’s that’s the secret sauce. 

 

Clint Watts [00:32:18] You don’t have to change a vote or anyone’s name on the roll. And you can have a massive impact because you cast doubt in people’s minds that their vote is accurate and counted. So all you have to do is, you know, hack in and breach one system, one voter roll. You do that one time. You can now tell the story, hey, we broke into your system. How do you know that your vote counted? Doesn’t matter if they did it or not. They’ve they’ve already achieved their objective, which is really their long run objective, which is sowing doubt about democracy and its integrity. And so would you look at the challenges of the federal government? They’re trying to go to each of these 50 states, trying to help them protect the vote. And at the same time, they have elected leaders oftentimes saying don’t trust the federal government like it’s almost impossible. And they don’t control all the resources. They don’t even control how all the elections are conducted. Add mail in voting. On top of that or absentee voting, because you’re an older person, let’s say, and you don’t want to go to a polling place come November because we might have another spike right about that same time. Right. This could be a second wave of the pandemic. Could be hitting right about the same time. This affects turnout. People will logically say I was unable to even go into vote or cast my vote safely. That part is a disaster. Then add onto it the politics of it and foreign nations step in and either put the gas gas pedal down for some people or against some people. You’ve got multiple countries right now that probably have interest in how the election comes out. Sometimes. Against each other. Right. So we look at the Russia, Iran, China overlap to kind of see what they’re saying. Do that at a foreign policy research institute. And Russia has intense interest in 2020, just like they did in 2016. But they’re using American narratives this time. They’re not writing fake news. There’s plenty of false information, disinformation being put out by American politicians that they are using to amplify and sow down back into the United States. So you add all those layers on there and then you add things like people are out of jobs. People aren’t working. Add in there, people are sick. Health care needs aren’t being met. People are at home. They’ve got a lot of time on their hands and they’re angry. It’s just a volatile situation. And I see it only building as it goes through the summer. 

 

RP Eddy [00:34:40] Twenty five percent of Americans have applied for unemployment, 35 in the workforce applied for unemployment as of today. Humungous number.

 

Clint Watts [00:34:50] Can I add one in there? As they’re applying for unemployment and they’re watching the stock market go up. One of the biggest pieces of disinformation around Bill Gates and elites, elites are controlling me and shoving me down in there. They’re preventing me from going back to work so that they can either come up with a vaccine and make money or they can make the stock market rise. This equality issue is going to play out in very dynamic ways. I think it’s going to be hard to anticipate how it will even happen by Election Day. 

 

Tom Scott [00:35:19] By the way, that RP, if you remember my comment from our Thursday evening call last week, my comment was that they think we’re pathetic. They think we’re pathetic. And it relates exactly to what you just said, Clint. And, you know, there’s going to be more and more that obviously it’ll depend on where the market goes. RP, you have, and I’m blowing this, like an unrest survey or an unrest quotient. What is… Right? 

 

RP Eddy [00:35:41] Called the social unrest meter. 

 

Tom Scott [00:35:43] What does that mean? 

 

RP Eddy [00:35:44] We look at a whole variety of things that we believe are indicators of the creation of indicators of the of social unrest. So we look at social, we look at we use A.I. artificial intelligence to track social media sentiment. We track that. We track a variety of things that would lead to unrest in a town. Right. Or city. So like prison release of violent people, food disruption, food disruption, food disruption. We look at the actual growth of the pandemic in those places. It’s it’s I think there’s like 15 variance. going into it. My partner at ERGO go, Ned Petersen built it. He’s a genius. And he built the social unrest meter with all these inputs. And it’s been extremely predictive. Right. So is predictive of the Michigan crisis was predictive of well before that of the stopwork stopped work movements in New York City by Amazon and some other people. It’s it’s a pretty neat tool. And what we’re looking for and this is worth noting, because it gets back to your point, Clint, you know, ERGO, we have a lot of investor clients and big corporation clients, government clients. We’re not doing the social unrest meter so they can jump in their G6 and fly to New Zealand when when shit gets hot. We’re doing this social unrest meter because social unrest is just more gasoline on top of all of the all of the challenges we’re facing right now. So, for example, this horrible situation in Minnesota, you know, obviously we didn’t. The social unrest meter didn’t pick up the riots today because those were in response to the killing. But I’m sure today they’re picking them up. But that’s the kind of thing that just amplifies… Clint’s been saying this in better words than me that social unrest and these kind of things, sickness we’re locked at home. All these things are adding PSI to the pressure cooker. 

 

Tom Scott [00:37:37] So when I was on my trip and just take my word for it, I read both sides of the aisle all the time. It’s just I like to and I watched, um, American Darma, which is Errol Morris’s new film, on or not new but newish film on Steve Bannon. And, you know, Bannon talks about… 

 

RP Eddy [00:37:55] I want to see that. 

 

Tom Scott [00:37:55] Yeah, it’s I mean, it’s Errol Morris. And that just means it’s gonna be a good movie. And and, you know, I’m I’m sure there are people who would never even listen to Steve Bannon. Okay, fine. But you might want to watch this film because you might learn something. And it’s a little scary, frankly, at the end. I mean, he talks about a pretty grim future. And as I’m listening, I’m thinking like, can our future get that grim? Can that happen? And that, by the way, that’s what Jonathan Haidt would say. I mean, Jonathan Haidt is very pessimistic. He really thinks this dopamine thing, which just to be clear and I won’t be that clear, I’ll do my best. At the heart of this is a dopamine rush. And that dopamine rush is breaking down our social fabric. That dopamine rush is driven by the factors that make up social media. And when those factors become so negative, the kind of the consequences can be very real. Am I over? 

 

RP Eddy [00:38:42] No. So many so many things, I find so much clarity. This is a pretty pessimistic point of view, but it’s just a fact. I find so much clarity, understanding human behavior and remembering how limitedly driven we are. Right. Remembering that so much of our. You called the dopamine rush serotonin rush the monkey brain, the rat brain, the little tell all these different ways to describe it. The limbic response we have. And for just as a quick example, there’s a big argument being made right now that economics is entirely ignoring the idea of social pressure and greed effectively. Right. Like the… points of view, I shot a couple times around how mimetic our behaviors are. Right. So, so many things are as as Clint was saying earlier, we’re talking about the supply function for disinformation. We’re not talking about the demand function. And the demand function is. I want to be around people who look like me, talk like me, sound like me, and reaffirmed me because we are herd animals. It’s a very limbic response. Right. And very similarly, when you don’t have a clear leadership icon in a moment of crisis, then you leave this fact. We need that. We need a leader in crisis. We need mom or dad to put the arm on the shoulder and say, it’s okay, it’s 9/11, it’s World War Two. I know where we’re going. I will lead you there. I will walk down the path with you, my hand on your shoulder. We’ll be fine when you don’t have that, which we don’t have right now, atomize it to the 50 states and then down to counties and then almost then it falls apart. You leave a vacuum where disinformation and nefarious activity. And then just as Nick Castillos called it, I got his name wrong. You also leave room for the irresponsibly and curious just to fill in all this is because we will because we need limbicly need and limbicly need.

 

Tom Scott [00:40:37] Yeah. 

 

RP Eddy [00:40:37] Sorry. Clint, I would love your thought on that. 

 

Clint Watts [00:40:40] Yeah, I, you know, what I remember about 9/11 was George Bush. Like him or hate him. You know, whatever your stance was, shows up with a bullhorn down in 9/11. You got a very defining moment. No one doubted it. No one cared if he was a Republican or a Democrat. That day, everybody was on board. He was in New York City, a state he didn’t win, you know. Right. Not a place city. It’s not a Republican stronghold. And everybody was there for him and he was there for everybody else. That’s a defining leadership moment. If we had that now, I think things would settle down. Right. Like, part of the reason we can’t roll out in a unified way or respond to very unified way really just comes down to the fact that we don’t know what to believe and we don’t know what the pathway is out of this. And even if we were told what we know what to do or will we trust that information? We’re in a really weird inflection point, I think, in the country. 

 

[00:41:30] And one thing I learned yesterday talking to this, this U.S. former U.S. military expert who’s in South Korea helping mediate their response. He Was just mind bogglingly amazing, is… He mentioned this as a clause, He said about the decision making process, which was professional and expert driven and everything ours should have been right? But they were making decisions very early. So they had this warning system. And when you’re making this early, that’s also you’re making decisions before the panic. Right. So when they are making decisions with zero infections in their country and five and five deaths and 10. And at that point, people aren’t the Micheli activity. They’re not running around screaming and yelling and running for the hills. And if you can get on top of crises before they become crises, it’s a lot easier to deal with them. And that’s just just just worth keeping in mind about how vicious this cycle has been in America, because we relate. And then because we don’t have proper leadership and et cetera, et cetera. Just as I mean, it creates. I don’t know if there’s a succinct way of putting it. And there’s certainly more to think that I’m saying. But I think I think the point is, is relatively clear. You know, we have this is this is this is so much more a problem of our creation than it is the biology, this disease. 

 

Clint Watts [00:42:44] Yes. I am curious when we get to. I don’t want to say normal state, but I feel like it’s close here, at least in New York, where you’re starting to see people get into a groove of what the pandemic is. They’re accepting that life’s not going to go totally back to normal and starting to move on a little bit. And I feel like that is mostly due to the governor rather than the president, which is odd. Right. Cuomo at least said, hey, here’s the regions of New York. You hit these seven metrics when you hit these seven metrics. Then we’ll move to the next phase. And it’s been interesting. I know in our house and a lot of house around your people go, OK, where we are on the seven markers, you know, are we going to hit it? And what opens when? And that just having a pathway creates calm for people. And that’s about being a leader and sort of having a system and relying on experts. 

 

Tom Scott [00:43:35] Can I go back? Can I just ask real quickly, which is. From both of you, but Clint, you kind of answered RP. But I want to hear from you, Clint. How scary is it? And I you know, I know there’s so many unknowns. But if I think about the boundaries of the unknown, what’s the upper boundary? 

 

Clint Watts [00:43:55] Yeah. So scary. Well, what I find interesting is this is the catastrophe where nothing happens for most people. Right? So, like, we don’t even experience we don’t have the share a consequence. We don’t. Other than a few pictures here and there, we don’t see a lot of people dying unless you know someone that’s had it. You don’t really know what their experience is. And so, yeah, everyone’s just kind of soul searching on their own, which means they start making decisions independent of each other and the collective survives from agreement around facts and what’s occurred. That’s usually what goes on. So I find that super fascinating. The other thing that I find troublesome is we’ve been watching the talk of the second civil war right. On social media for two, three years. And I’ve never really thought that was reasonable. I’ve thought it would be the first divorce, meaning that if you look at how the states have responded. And the lack of federal direction or leadership as they started working together based on shared interests. You have red states saying we’re not going to shut down and we’ll stay open. And you’ve got blue states and let’s work together in the northeast and on the Pacific coast around a shared timeline, right around reopening. Then you’re seeing federal aid handed out based on relationships, not really on need. 

 

RP Eddy [00:45:11] Criminal. 

 

[00:45:12] And then you start. Yeah. Then you start saying in New York, if you’re Governor Cuomo you go, wait, we toss in one hundred and sixteen billion more than we take out. Why are we doing that? Right. You start asking questions whenever you have put into these things, when you put into this system and you start feeling as if you’re treated unfairly. So then that begs the question, if we don’t have shared ideas, we don’t have a shared understanding the world. We don’t have shared facts. We don’t actually believe the same things or even like each other that much. Why what what stands between us becoming like the EU, which is going through a version of this right now where they’re breaking up into smaller and smaller pieces? Right. You see Brexit, but you also got Catalonia. You’ve got these little breakaway sort of republics. And for the first time I’ve heard I talked to some friends in California and they said, hey, you know what? We used to joke about Calix. And I’m I’m totally fine with it. We don’t how to handle this on our own. We’re the 10th biggest economy in the world if we are to break away. This is all extreme. But I’m just saying that that that that thought or that talk would ever occur, I think is what scares me the most about our current situation right now. And with a good leader, whoever they might be over time are a good series of leaders. I should say. That could all of course correct in two or three years. And there’s a bump in the road that maybe makes us stronger. I think it’s just way too early to tell. But that’s my most extreme fear is not the second civil war, but that’s the big divorce, meaning just states are going their own ways because they don’t they don’t feel like the federal government is really helping unify them or bringing them things in that I my biggest, I think last year of 2020 is the person that wins the Electoral College, doesn’t win the popular vote. And you start having to ask yourself, why is the minority getting the rule 50 percent of the time? That’s going to be pretty damning for democracy. And yet you’ll see the Russians point and go, we told you so. It’s a fraud. They love that line. Not that they would have it in their own country, but they like saying, yeah, you guys go vote. It’s no different than us picking who the president’s gonna be over here. Right. You don’t get to pick either. So those are those are some extreme fears. But, you know, I think totally plausible in that last one with the Electoral College. 

 

Tom Scott [00:47:26] So just to remind people that that. So so am I right in saying and I mean talking about Russia and China to a certain extent. We’re basically in a form of a battle. That battle is being fought over well, in the case of Russia, what they’re doing is is dividing us constantly and weakening weakening us constantly through disinformation. That’s the idea. So when you see these things. Think about these things and wonder if perhaps part of this is related to that strategy that is ongoing. Is that correctly characterized? Yeah. 

 

Clint Watts [00:47:58] Yeah, exactly. Oh, Russia’s in a political war with us. And that’s how they see victory. Not on the military battlefield, but politically. China’s in an economic war with us and they’re starting to take on political warfare. It’s kind of the second line of effort, you know, to support that. And you’re really seeing them pick up in the last three to four months with their social media disinformation, you know, news spread by, into the information space, which has been. Impressive the scale at which I’ve done it, but also not very good. They don’t get a huge reaction out of it, but they’ll get better over time. They got money and they’ve got a lot of science. So they will they will pick up Russia’s my disinfo fear of 2020 and China’s my disinfo sphere at twenty, twenty one. You know, the rest of the way. 

 

RP Eddy [00:48:45] So when so when Tom asked how bad is this and let’s see. The answer you just gave me. The answer is really, really bad. Right. So a lot of where your world was, your dear disinformation study. Was a lot of fringe conversations that would seep into the mainstream and maybe get more rough. Maybe not. Right. Fair enough, pre Corona. Now, because you have 25 percent unemployment. People questioning their entire understanding with relation to the government, to other people. Very fair thing that’s happening right now among a lot of people. What became a group of fringe actors engaged as much a much broader group of people that are in this debate paying attention, playing with social media. So that’s the beginning. Things they don’t understand. Media source, they don’t understand. And so that’s bad. That’s super bad right there. Then you add, oh, and guess what? There’s a federal election coming very shortly. Oh, OK, OK. We’ve done that before. We haven’t. We haven’t. It’s about and it’s a president who appears to not appears clearly doesn’t care about precedent. Right. Clearly doesn’t care about precedents that have been set before and doesn’t mind pressing laws as hard as he can that have been set before. And you have a court that has made a Supreme Court that’s made a few decisions historically recently, that it’s it’s reasonable to wonder how partizan they have become at a time when we don’t want partizanship in our courts. So what goes from a fringe group of people kind of engaged in a pre Corona, seeping into the mainstream? You now have a mainstream conversation around this that is creating its own disinformation and disinformation is objecting into it. Now you have a federal election and a president who may actually screw around the constitutionality of the election. Like, wow, that’s a big deal. 

 

Clint Watts [00:50:25] It’s fake. 

 

Tom Scott [00:50:26] Yeah. You know, I think about Dan… And I were having this conversation before. And, you know, you talked about Bush with the megaphone down down at the Ground Zero. And technically speaking, Trump could take that megaphone and do that thing. Like technically speaking, he could. Now people say, oh, the media would never let him. All right. Maybe wouldn’t get to ninety one percent approval, but I bet he could get to 75, you know, if he could have. 

 

RP Eddy [00:50:49] He’s lost his chance. 

 

Tom Scott [00:50:51] But he could have. 

 

RP Eddy [00:50:51] That’s what Bannon said the beginning with back in January. Bannon said make this year Churchillian moment lead. Every great leader wants a great crisis. This is your thing and you need I think. I wish he had. 

 

Tom Scott [00:51:03] Yeah, I’m with you. I want to do a quick speed round. Yes. No, maybe. I hope you guys can answer these. These are the two to give you the top ten conspiracies. And if you’re comfortable giving a yes no, maybe, OK. These are all Covid. Number one, blaming five G. 

 

Clint Watts [00:51:20] Not true. No. 

 

Tom Scott [00:51:22] OK. Number two… 

 

RP Eddy [00:51:23] Correlates to five G. The same as it correlates to product stores. Right. Hermes stores. Same correlation and I’m pretty sure Hermes stores are not causing the disease. 

 

Tom Scott [00:51:32] OK, Bill. Bill Gates is somehow behind this. 

 

Clint Watts [00:51:36] No, no. OK. 

 

RP Eddy [00:51:37] Remember CEPI, C-E-P-I, if China gets the vaccine first. If Europe gets a vaccine first if different countries in the United States, companies and states get the vaccine first. Most of them are funded by Bill Gates Foundation, called CEPI, which is funded by 50 percent him and then other people. He put a half a billion dollars into this thing. And that’s great. What does it actually mean if if you get this? If you create this vaccine and you have CEPI money, you have to share it internationally. It’s an unmitigated good that he’s done that. 

 

Tom Scott [00:52:07] All right. The virus escaped from a Chinese lab. 

 

RP Eddy [00:52:10] Maybe. 

 

Clint Watts [00:52:13] No. 

 

Tom Scott [00:52:13] You’re gonna say no. OK. 

 

RP Eddy [00:52:14] I’m not going to say I know the answer. I don’t believe it happened. I don’t believe was manmade. But it’s it could it have escaped from the bio facility in Wuhan? Sure maybe we’ll never know. Things have escaped from American bio port facilities, too. Could it have happened? Yes. Will they ever know? 

 

Clint Watts [00:52:28] I concur with RP. Yeah. 

 

Tom Scott [00:52:30] OK. And then this one’s more clear, which is, it was created as a biological weapon. 

 

Clint Watts [00:52:35] No. 

 

RP Eddy [00:52:36] No. Clearly,. 

 

Clint Watts [00:52:37] It would be a terrible biological weapon. Why wouldn’t you create something that kills faster and more like the whole idea of a weapon? Why would you create a weapon that largely targets the older generation and could, in effect, help the Chinese economy over a very long period? Yeah. There’s so many reasons as a weapon, it’s not particularly useful. 

 

Tom Scott [00:52:56]  The U.S. military brought it to China. It was us? 

 

Clint Watts [00:53:02] No, that’s the replay of the 1918 Spanish flu, which is good conspiracies are oftentimes rooted in old history. Right. So that’s kind of how Spanish flu that… 

 

RP Eddy [00:53:15] Clint was in Wuhan in late December. 

 

Clint Watts [00:53:17] I’m patient zero and patient negative one before a patient zero. 

 

Tom Scott [00:53:23] It’s related to GMOs. 

 

Clint Watts [00:53:27] No. 

 

RP Eddy [00:53:28] If it is a GM,O the vaccine will be a GMO like whatever saves us will be genetically modified. Right. MRNA, DNA. These are all GMO. These are genetically modified. Were we saved by a GMO? OK. 

 

Tom Scott [00:53:42] It doesn’t actually exist. 

 

Clint Watts [00:53:46] Definitely not true. I think that they’re used to doing this. But there are literally thousands of examples of to refute that. 

 

Tom Scott [00:53:55] All right. The next one says it was it’s being manipulated by the deep state. 

 

Clint Watts [00:54:02] Having worked in the state. I just know that it’s pretty hard for it to operate as a deep state. So, no, we can’t even do it because we wanted to successfully. Why would we do? Do you think secretly but so successfully. 

 

RP Eddy [00:54:16] But that anti-expertism is that we didn’t mention this entire conversation. That’s another long term handicapper we’re giving ourselves, is, is the deep state. You know, CDC, these are experts. They voted on a couple of things, but they’re experts. 

 

Tom Scott [00:54:29] All right. And COVID is a plot by Big Pharma. I would assume that’s an…

 

Clint Watts [00:54:36] I’ve seen this, too, in a lot of usually around the Bill Gates stuff, right? It’s like Bill Gates pharma deep state of illuminati. Yeah. That’s planned-demic. Yeah. Yeah, I it. It seems as if the medical industry for as much ups as they’ve had they’ve had just as many downs. So I know at least in Missouri they’re furloughing hospital workers, you know, because you know. 

 

RP Eddy [00:54:59] Sure. 

 

Tom Scott [00:55:00] This one I hear a lot. COVID deaths are inflated. 

 

RP Eddy [00:55:04] They’re probably undercounted. 

 

Clint Watts [00:55:07] Yeah. I think New York Times said that today. Right. The missing death of one report. 

 

RP Eddy [00:55:12] A mistake was made yet. One big mistake was made by Medicare, Medicaid to pay hospitals more if a death is noted as a COVID death. That was so stupid. I don’t know why they did it. And it’s true. They did. So you would you would now be able to find it a perverse incentive for someone to market death as COVID when it actually wasn’t. They get paid 25 percent more for the treatment given to that corpse. But the big number of people added to the New York rolls, as you know what? These actually were COVID deaths and we miscounted? We’re ninety five percent at home deaths, meaning no one got paid for it. No one got a benefit from it. But that was a bad idea. Whoever did that. I understand why. I mean, do you have extra PPE costs? You have extra handling costs of the corpse. You know, it’s you have to treat it like a toxic waste when most corpses are not. 

 

Tom Scott [00:56:02] So here’s an irony. And I think to suggest something good to end on, which is. Ah. I hope it’s something good to end on. You know, we live in this time of high tech. And when I see first of all, I’m in the media so I can look at like I see this CBS Sunday Morning Note logo next to like some other news media I never heard of. Like, I know how it works and the shit’s made up. But the irony is, when I see these things and sometimes I get somewhat fooled. And what does that even mean to say fake news? My method is to just pause, just chill for a minute and think and like think it through and then ask yourself that. I ask myself, who do I trust? Who do I trust? Which the irony being. That’s where I’m in a net. I’m going to net to people I trust because it’s it’s not that easy to scientifically navigate. I’m going to say the more nuanced ones. I actually think most of these are pretty obvious. And to your point, yeah, I guess it’s possible someone screwed up in a lab, but otherwise. Come on, this is silly. What do you guys think? Like, how does how does a regular person navigate and just find sanity? 

 

Clint Watts [00:57:12] I am always having to teach this usually the intel community, the U.S. intelligence community, which some we would call the deep state, gives you the three things to look for an information source, one who is the author like you actually know who the actual author is, of the content. Two. What is the outlet that’s putting out where they physically located it? If you can’t find the physical location of that news outlet, just like we do on the show, like Clinton, Cold Springs or NBC, when I go on there, like this is where they always put, you know, where you’re physically at. That’s to show like, oh, this is a real person that’s in this location. That’s a real news outlet that’s physically located somewhere. And then the third part is how do they make their money? Meaning that. Is it ideological motivation? They’re just passionate about the cause or are they selling advertising or are they direct funded? One of the ways we can tell, like RP was talking about in terms of the anti vax, that kind of stuff, is they don’t run ads. They have no advertising. They don’t sell anything. But they can put out three stories per day. Guess what? There’s money behind that. There’s no way you can do that. No one’s that has that technical capability, you know, to push that sort of information out. So I always look at those three things and then kind of make your decision. Who wrote it? Where are they physically located? At the outlet or the person? And then how do they make their money? And then you can make your own decisions from that. It almost answers itself when you use that those three things. 

 

RP Eddy [00:58:34] But here’s the predicate challenge. Sociological studies will show you that 98 to 99 percent of people don’t make up their own minds. Meaning, Tom, they don’t pause and stop if it came from Fox News. It goes in one ear and into the brain. And it’s a fact comes from MSNBC, goes another in the brain. It’s a fact. Ninety nine percent of people don’t make up their own mind. They don’t pause. They don’t stop. And we. So if you want to have some hopes about this whole crisis and the crisis that’s coming. I think part of what we’re hearing today, Clint, by the way, is that. It’s going to get worse, not just the disease. The disease may not, but the rift in the elections could help with that. But if you wanted a silver lining to come out of this one, there was a lot of enthusiasm about people becoming more self-aware. You know, meditation. Understand your bias, your instincts, and more inclusion. And that was a movement that was gaining some steam. Pre corona it hasn’t died, obviously. And that is a movement where you are effectively waking up and thinking for yourself. You’re under and you understand the biases and you’re thinking. So one thing that will be positive coming out of this is that more conversations like this more experts like Clint, where people say, oh, wait, you know what I got? I remember that conversation. And I’m now going to begin to, as Tom says, pause, look at the information, whatever it is, and not just be limbicly activated. 

 

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