(Special) The wrong apocalypse — inner decay

July 30, 2020

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Things That Go Boom Season 3 logo with an illustration that includes a magnifying glass, a rocket, a coin, and the US Capitol building.

Disinformation and misinformation have been blurring the line between fantasy and reality since the start of communication itself. But over the last decade, they’ve posed an increasing threat to democracy in the United States, with the 2016 presidential election becoming a major flashpoint in Americans’ understanding of the consequences of fake news. In episode six of the third season of "Things That Go Boom," our partner podcast from PRX, host Laicie Heeley looks into how false information flooding the internet and spreading like wildfire on social media poses risks not just to national and election security, but to our health and safety.


  • Mike Mazarr, senior political scientist at RAND Corporation
  • Cindy Otis, author, former CIA analyst and disinformation investigations manager
  • Camille Stewart, head of security policy for Google Play and Android
  • Russell Jeung, professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University

Additional reading

True or False: A CIA Analyst's Guide to Spotting Fake News, Cindy Otis

"Vote and die: Covering voter suppression during the coronavirus pandemic," Nieman Foundation

"Combating disinformation and foreign interference in democracies: Lessons from Europe," Margaret L. Taylor