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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Missed-Information

 

A newspaper is a paper that is printed and distributed, usually daily or weekly, and that contains news, articles of opinion, features, and advertising. I define this item, because I’m aware that younger readers may be unfamiliar with this method by which news used to be delivered.

 

As a child, I assisted my older sister with delivering newspapers. Aside from television (TV) broadcasts which delivered the news—newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events—knowledge about current happenings was limited in my youth.

 

With release of the Internet when I was in high school, information at local, state, federal, and even global levels became more accessible. Therefore, as a young Marine assigned to a duty station overseas, I could keep track about events which occurred back home.

 

For the most part, I didn’t think critically about the information to which I was exposed. I knew nothing about Operation Mockingbird and how legacy media outlets (i.e., CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, One America News Network, etc.) disseminated controlled narratives, essentially equating to propaganda.

 

Deliberate falsehoods in favor of preferred talking points by authoritative sources have likely existed for much longer than I’m aware. Thinking critically about this matter, I posted in a blog entry entitled Controlling the Flow of Harm:

 

Who determines what is or isn’t “authoritative information”? Plenty of professionals and so-called “experts” disseminated MDM [misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation] throughout the pandemic. Due to their control of info, how many people were harmed by lockdown measures, vaccinations, and others reactionary means?

 

Providing foundation for MDM, in a blogpost entitled Information Overload, I proposed that misinformation is akin to a mistake, disinformation regards deliberate deceit, and malinformation relates to accurate information that some entities consider “harmful.” It may be useful to provide examples of each.

 

Corporate media publications (i.e., The New York Times, New York Post, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, etc.) are imperfect entities. As humans are fallible creatures, and these sources of information are comprised by humans, it’s impossible for such publications to be perfect in nature. Now, I’ll provide brief hypothetical examples of MDM.

 

First, suppose that within a column of The New York Times a journalist mistakenly reports that three people were killed in an auto accident when in actuality only two individuals died, though the third person remained in critical condition. This is an example of misinformation.

 

Second, consider that a journalist with the New York Post deliberately reports that the mishandling of classified information by a former president is a different matter than a similar circumstance by a current president. Based on little more than personal bias and a desire to rationalize the behavior of one’s preferred politician, this is an example of disinformation.

 

Last, imagine that during the COVID-19 pandemic a Los Angeles Times journalist reviewed information contrary to the government’s official narrative and discovered that masks were ineffective at preventing the spread of the virus. However, this individual intentionally withheld the information. The unshared data is an example of malinformation.

 

Understanding MDM, I now turn to the matter of missed-information. Not dissimilar to withheld data in the latter example, I suspect that many people within a given community, society, country, or even an entire planet are missed-informed about a great many topics.

 

To clarify what I mean regarding this phenomenon, consider how one source states that “the phrase ‘missed information’ refers to valid and relevant information that people have not been able to access.” I liken this to ignorance—lack of knowledge or information.

 

Unlike those who take offense to their beliefs about being called “ignorant,” I’m not self-disturbed in this regard. Factually speaking, I’m ignorant about most topics which comprise truth and reality.

 

This matter is analogous to those homes which didn’t have newspaper subscriptions when I once delivered papers. Better yet, it’s also comparable to people at the time that may not have had TVs or other access to information contained in the news.

 

Even in modernity, with perhaps more access to information at our fingertips than to which ancient people were privy at the Great Library of Alexandria, many of us remain subject to MDM. Therefore, completely perfect knowledge is unattainable by fallible human beings.

 

When contemplating this matter, I consider anecdotes regarding my personal and professional life. For instance, I recently asked a friend if she heard about a particular well-publicized court case and when she replied in the negative, I was reminded of missed-information.

 

It isn’t as though I’m unfamiliar with this phenomenon. After all, in a blogpost entitled Your Thoughts Ain’t My Thoughts, I stated:

 

I prefer Steven Pinker’s perspective relating to thinking others know what we know, as it pertains to common knowledge in game theory. Pinker states:

 

I know something. You know something. I know you know it. You know that I know it. I know that you know that I know that you know it, ad infinitum—or not. This is where we each know something but we’re not so sure that the other guy knows that we know it.

 

This effect is referred to as the curse of knowledge.

 

Presuming that my friend knew of a particular court case was an example of the curse of knowledge. In actuality, she was as miss-informed about the matter as I am concerning how to properly maintain a weeping fig.

 

Moreover, I don’t care about the latter any more than my friend did about the former. And it is precisely this conclusion that aids in my practice of unconditional acceptance.

 

Not everyone should, must, or ought to know what I know – or what I think I know, given the phenomenon of MDM. To a significant degree, I suspect everybody is ignorant about most topics – and why shouldn’t they be?

 

Because I’m a fallible human being who is incapable of completely perfect knowledge, I understand that my friend experiences the same condition. Likewise, life itself isn’t an experience in which all beings are immune to missed-information.

 

Consequently, I’m undisturbed by irrational beliefs concerning this matter. How about you, dear reader? Do you self-disturb with beliefs about the ignorance of other people? If you’d like to know more about how to stop upsetting yourself in this fashion, I may be able to help.

 

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

 

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

 

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

 

 

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW


 

References:

 

Hollings, D. (2023, March 12). Controlling the flow of harm. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/controlling-the-flow-of-harm

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/fair-use

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/get-better

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2022, November 4). Human fallibility. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/human-fallibility

Hollings, D. (2022, November 8). Information overload. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/information-overload

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/irrational-beliefs

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-coaching

Hollings, D. (2023, October 19). Mockingbird media. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/mockingbird-media

Hollings, D. (2023, April 24). On truth. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/on-truth

Hollings, D. (2024, March 4). Rationalization. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rationalization

Hollings, D. (2022, August 24). Repost: Revisiting protective measures. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/repost-revisiting-protective-measures

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/self-disturbance

Hollings, D. (2022, October 7). Should, must, and ought. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/should-must-and-ought

Hollings, D. (2022, July 11). Unconditional acceptance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/unconditional-acceptance

Hollings, D. (2023, March 25). Your thoughts ain’t my thoughts. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/your-thoughts-ain-t-my-thoughts

Jordan B Peterson. (2019, August 10). Steven Pinker: Progress, despite everything [Video – starting at around minute 1:20:40]. YouTube. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/pBylbB7s5Nw

Naval, E. (2019, November 15). The curse of knowledge. The University of Arizona. Retrieved from https://ucatt.arizona.edu/news/curse-knowledge

Paakkari, L., Okan, O., and Torppa, M. (2022, January 14). “Missed” information: A moral failing that erodes efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Public Health. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8794791/

Policonomics. (n.d.). Game theory I: Common knowledge. Retrieved from https://policonomics.com/lp-game-theory1-common-knowledge/

Rodrigues, V. (2023, October 29). Double exposure [Image]. Playground. Retrieved from https://playground.com/post/clobtgpeg0804s60140wbtb4m

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Library of Alexandria. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Alexandria

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Steven Pinker. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Pinker

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