The majority of Republicans in the U.S. still don’t believe Joe Biden won the 2020 election. Can the United States find a way out of the lies and anger-tainment chaos? And is anyone safe from the online mob?
In episode three of Defending Democracy with Malcolm Turnbull, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull discusses just how vulnerable America’s democracy is, as disinformation and the toxic online environment continue to feed on the nation’s the angry and polarized political discourse.
Listen to episode three of Defending Democracy with Malcolm Turnbull below:
In this episode, Nina Jankowicz and John Cohen join Malcolm Turnbull to share their personal experiences and perspectives on how disinformation, propaganda, and the online ecosystem have put America’s democracy at risk.
Veteran Homeland Security official John Cohen says the language we see today is not too dissimilar to that used by Hitler.
“The threat that we face today, and the threat illustrated by the January 6 attack, is one that’s based on the divisions of our society,” Mr Cohen said.
Mr Cohen says four factors have significantly threatened the country and its democracy, including the public using anger as the only way to express their situation, America’s angry nature as a country, media and online IP ecosystem, and the availability of weapons.
Mr Cohen says there’s little hope for the U.S government to address the matter: “This is going to sound horrible and depressing. But maybe enough people haven’t died yet?”
Nina Jankowicz, an American researcher and writer, briefly led President Biden’s newly established Disinformation Governance Board before an online disinformation attack forced her out of the job.
Ms Jankowicz has experienced numerous gender-based harassment. One example was when the New York Post put her on the cover of one of its issues, saying, “big sisters watching you”.
“At the time, I was just a few weeks away from giving birth to my first child. People were threatening me in sexual ways and threatening me and my family …our home address and other personal information were released on the Internet. And as a result, the Biden administration eventually decided to pause the board.”