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CNN | 3/2/2021 | Listen
Biden addresses nation's information crisis: We must 'defeat
By Oliver Darcy, CNN BusinessUpdated: Wed, 20 Jan 2021 21:53:59
GMTSource: CNN Business
In a sharp break with his predecessor, President Joe Biden vowed during
his inaugural address Wednesday to tackle the information crisis
plaguing American politics and society.
"We must reject the culture in which facts themselves are
manipulated and even manufactured," Biden said shortly after
taking the oath as the 46th President.
"There is truth," Biden added, "and there are
Biden pointed out that some lies are told "for power" and
other lies are told "for profit."
It was a not-so-subtle nod at the fact that while politicians wield
lies to further their influence, companies like the right-wing cable
channel Fox News have used lies and conspiracy theories to line the
pockets of their owners.
"Each of us has a duty and a responsibility as citizens, as
Americans, and especially as leaders — leaders who have pledged to
honor our constitution and protect our nation — to defend the truth
and defeat the lies," Biden said.
After Biden was elected President in November, many Republican
politicians, right-wing media figures, and right-wing media outlets
propagated lies about the results, falsely telling or suggesting to
their audiences that former President Donald Trump had in fact won.
Those lies culminated in Trump's followers storming the Capitol
building on January 6 — a deadly incident of domestic terrorism that
forced Congress to temporarily pause the certification of the Electoral
College vote count taking place that day.
The episode was emblematic of a larger information crisis that has
dominated nearly every aspect of American life. Trump loomed large over
the problem, often spreading misinformation and lies about the deadly
coronavirus and the election while his allies in the GOP and the media
gave him cover.
In fact, Trump waged an assault on truth unlike anything seen in modern
American politics during his four years in office. With his help, lies
and conspiracy theories flourished like no other time in modern memory.
Outlets such as Fox News have enabled propagandists, while
hyper-partisan websites, radio hosts, and internet personalities have
promoted disinformation to enrich and empower themselves.
These outlets and figures have used technology platforms including
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to amplify and spread their messages
that mislead the public.
Biden is not the first prominent national figure to address the
information crisis. Former President Barack Obama lamented in October
about the fact that wild conspiracy theories such as QAnon have found
safe haven in the Republican Party while companies such as Fox News
have corrupted the public conversation.
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