I drove past a series of banners the day after the VP debate. There were even people guarding the signs.
Let’s be clear here, there are many scientific, peer reviewed studies at this point that have debunked the myth that vaccinations cause autism.
We know that the doctor that started this rumor has been discredited and even disbarred.
And thanks to the brilliant book of Eula Biss, we know that the profile of someone who doesn’t vaccinate is someone who is affluent enough to opt out.
Fake news travels six times faster than the truth. Which is why the conspiracy theory still lives on.
The question is, does the person who makes the banner have a responsibility to ask, “What is this for?”
Capitalism dictates that if I don’t make it someone else will.
In the short run, someone else probably will print it. But is this something you can be proud of? You got paid, but money is only one unit of measure. There are other ways to measure our work.
Let’s take it a step further, who is supposed to police Facebook for false information? Facebook has done a terrible job at this point. So, is it your job to jump on and say something about fake news? What if they don’t believe you? When is the last time a tweet changed your mind anyway?
Wikipedia uses moderators. People who have volunteered and shown up again and again, proving they can exercise good judgement. But what happens when AI can do it better most of the time? Do we accept the implicit biases that come?
Bottom line is, we can demand capitalism, social media giants, (and yes, your local printers) to be better. Each of us can have the guts to make the difficult, emotional decision to do the hard work of changing people’s minds too. That is how we build a culture we can all be proud of.