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Caroline Orr @RVAwonk
, 10 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Trump is the “worst” perpetrator of misinformation on the internet, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression & Opinion David Kaye said in a new interview published today.…
He's right, but Trump does more than perpetrate mis/disinformation. He intentionally undermines trust in shared sources of knowledge and information, which is the glue that holds societies together. 1/

Functional societies depend on shared, socially-mediated sources of knowledge & truth. Our relationships, institutions, & civilization are held together by a mutual assumption of trustworthiness in knowledge-generating mechanisms. Trump is intentionally eroding this. 2/
The most dangerous implication of Trump's war on the truth is that when he spreads mis/disinformation, he's not necessarily doing it because he thinks people will believe his lies. Rather, he wants to make people doubt that one objective truth even exists. 3/
The act of lying is bad enough. But selling the idea that truth doesn’t matter – or doesn’t even exist – is far more corrosive. Democracy rests upon a shared understanding of basic facts. We can't debate issues or hold leaders accountable w/o these agreed upon facts. 4/
And that's why Trump is so committed to undermining trust in the very notion of truth. If he can cast doubt on the existence of one objective truth, he can undermine the external mechanisms that we rely on to hold leaders accountable & prevent abuses of power. 5/
When Trump spreads mis/disinformation, he's not usually doing it with the expectation that his lies will be accepted as truth. He's doing it b/c he wants to erode the notion of truth and destroy our ability to distinguish between truth & falsehoods -- to kill reality itself. 6/
And perhaps most importantly, Trump wields mis/disinformation as a weapon against the press, with the goal of delegitimizing one of the few institutions that can hold him accountable. He wants to be the arbiter of truth -- and among his loyal supporters, he is (see below). 7/
As Chris Hedges wrote in "Losing Moses On The Freeway", eroding public trust is one of the key elements in the creation of an authoritarian state.

Authoritarians like Trump don't maintain power by gaining your trust, but by establishing distrust & seizing upon cynicism. 8/
Lying has served as the glue of authoritarian states throughout history. Hannah Arendt understood this well. It's not the lie itself that is so poisonous, but the slow destruction of rational thought & erosion of shared truth that follows. 9/
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