That’s the premise behind “Disinformation” – with award-winning Evergreen host Paul Brandus. Get ready for amazing stories – war, espionage, corruption, elections, and assorted trickery showing how false information is turning our world inside out – and what we can do about it. A co-production of Evergreen and Emergent Risk International.
“The problem in America isn’t so much what people don’t know, the problem is what people think they know that just ain’t so”
“The most common threat that the dark web poses for a disinformation point of view, however, is …the fact that many marketplaces on the dark web host tools which can be used for disinformation. Manufacturing it, spreading it, monitoring it, so on and so forth.”
“This is an ongoing struggle, and perhaps the struggle of our time.”
In this episode of Disinformation, Paul Brandus discusses the recent election in the Netherlands and the rise of the islamophobic and anti-immigration Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party. The Russians, known for their active measures, have been supporting Wilders, further highlighting their efforts to influence opinion in the West. Thea Gioe, a former CIA officer, joins the discussion and explains how migration issues are being exploited by various groups, including nationalist groups seeking to regain power.
“I can filter out four or five star quality hotels and restaurants today. We can’t do that with our personal information.”
In this episode of the award-winning podcast series “Disinformation,” host Paul Brandus discusses the need for safety standards in the information we consume. While there are regulations in place for the safety of our food, water, and air, there are none for the content we see just as often. Meredith Wilson, CEO of Emergent Risk International, delves into the challenge of discerning what is real in an era of misinformation. Tune in to this thought-provoking conversation on the need for safety standards in the content we engage with.
“The federal government is stepping up its efforts to counter foreign disinformation.”
In this episode, we explore the lesser-known agencies within the United States Intelligence Community. With the rise of false information and disinformation as a major threat, the federal government is increasing its efforts to counter foreign disinformation. The Director of National Intelligence discusses the establishment of a farm line influence center and their work in understanding the plans and intentions of key actors in this space, including China, Russia, and Iran. We also hear from Brady Roberts, COO of Emergent Risk International, and Andrea Leibman, an analyst with the Psychological Defense Agency of Sweden. Join us as we delve into the complex world of intelligence agencies and the battle against disinformation.
“… truth is the first casualty of war.”
In all times, but especially in wartime, we are challenged to separate fact from fiction. On this special episode of Disinformation, we break from our miniseries on combating disinformation to discuss the recent surprise attack on Israel by Hamas, the evolving nature of information dissemination, and the importance of verifying sources in a fast-moving conflict. We also interview Rafi Mendelson of Cyabra a company that works to combat disinformation in both this conflict and at large.
“Living in a post-fact world is a scary place to be, as we learned during the pandemic, right? People don’t believe anything.”
In part 1 of this 3 part series on combating disinformation, we delve into the world of media literacy, critical thinking, and the battle against disinformation in Europe. Join host Paul Brandus as he explores the challenges faced by countries like Slovakia and Bulgaria, where a lack of media literacy leaves populations vulnerable to false narratives. Discover how NATO and European Union initiatives are working to combat disinformation and protect democratic values, and gain valuable insights into the fight against disinformation in today’s “post-fact world”.
“… this is a Doom Loop: authorities screw up, people die, trust is eroded.”
In this podcast episode, host Paul Brandus discusses the dangerous spread of false narratives during natural disasters and crises. He highlights the devastating impact of Hurricane Adelia on Cedar Key, Florida, and the disinformation that followed, causing confusion and undermining trust in authorities. He also discusses the phenomenon of disinformation during other crises, such as wildfires and hurricanes, including Hurricane Katrina. Just as the erosion of our environment during a climate crisis threatens our physical world, the erosion of faith in public institutions during these events can be just as damaging, and sometimes longer lasting. Brandus and his guests explore the breakdown of communication and trust that occurred during Katrina and how it continues to affect public perception. The episode emphasizes the importance of reliable sources of information and the challenges of navigating the flood of information in a crisis. Social media also plays a role in disseminating both accurate and inaccurate information during emergencies.
“What kind of company, a publicly traded company, doesn’t share its most basic financial information with investors?”
In this episode of Disinformation, host Paul Brandus delves into the infamous case of Enron, a Houston-based energy company that was once a Wall Street darling. Enron manipulated its financial information, misrepresenting its earnings and altering its balance sheet to deceive investors. The host also discusses other cases of financial disinformation, such as WorldCom, Tyco, and Health South, highlighting the destructive power of such deception. He raises questions about the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in detecting and preventing future instances of financial disinformation, particularly in analyzing large amounts of text data, like the 10K filings that companies submit to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). However, concerns exist about the potential risks and unintended consequences of relying solely on AI in financial decision-making, emphasizing the need for human oversight. The episode concludes by reflecting on the challenges of controlling AI-powered disinformation and the importance of remaining vigilant in the face of evolving threats.
“It creates this sort of feedback loop of Disinformation that’s happening all the time there.”
On this episode of Disinformation, hosts Paul Brandus and Meredith Wilson delve into the concerning rise of disinformation in India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The episode highlights the protests outside the White House during Modi’s visit, where opponents accused him of undermining democracy and suppressing freedoms. The transcript reveals that India’s ranking in the World Press Freedom Index has plummeted, with the country now ranked 161st out of 180 countries. The hosts discuss how social media and the internet have exacerbated the spread of disinformation, particularly in the context of Hindu-Muslim tensions. They also touch on the alarming prevalence of COVID-19 misinformation in India and the ease with which false narratives can be generated using artificial intelligence. Overall, the episode sheds light on the challenges India faces in combating disinformation and protecting democratic values.
“What is the line where your ability to say what you want stops and your ability to make up things that harm people starts?”
In Elon Musk’s recent interview with the BBC, he discussed free speech and his vision for the platform to serve as a “digital town square.” However, the challenge arises when determining what constitutes misinformation in a divided society where basic facts are contested. The episode explores the concept of disinformation and the concerns surrounding its potential resurgence on Twitter under Musk’s ownership as well as on other social media platforms. Join host Paul Brandus as he delves into the complex issue of disinformation in the digital age.
In this episode of “Disinformation,” host Paul Brandus and analyst Meredith Wilson explore the overwhelming amount of information that bombards us each day. Dr. Daniel Levitin, a cognitive psychologist and author, explains that we are faced with five times more information than ever before, making it difficult to discern what is true and what is not. The rise of social media and tribalism further complicates this issue, as we tend to trust and align with like-minded individuals. Bret Schafer and Peter Benzoni of the Alliance for Securing Democracy discuss countermeasures in NATO and the Marshall Plan.
The rebellion in Russia has caused Moscow to complain about – ironically – disinformation. But the Russians continue to practice this insidious craft themselves in clever ways, including so-called “website spoofing,” in which fake websites are created to look like the real thing. Mereddith Wilson and Theo Gioe of Emergent Risk International, along with Beatriz Saab of Berlin-based Democracy Reporting International, share their insights.
In season two of the Disinformation podcast, Paul Brandus discusses the emergence of avatars and false media outlets created by artificial intelligence, blurring the lines between fact and fiction; truth and untruth. He and Meredith Wilson, CEO of Emergent Risk International, discuss how the rapid growth of AI accelerates the possibility of false narratives spreading faster than ever before, and how these false narratives are forms of disinformation. Paul also interviews Jack Stubbs, VP of Intelligence at Graphika, who discusses the discovery of a fake media outlet called Wolf News, which is part of a Chinese state-aligned political influence operation.
Today, we’re taking time to recap some of our past reporting. Please enjoy this retrospective from our Season 1 episode “News Deserts”.
A look back at some material from our first season – highlighting the growing dangers of disinformation, but also some ideas on how, perhaps, it can be thwarted. Appearing: Meredith Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of Emergent Risk International, and Brady Roberts, ERI’s Chief Operating Officer.
The COVID-19 pandemic has faded, but health experts warm that future pandemics could occur. In terms of disinformation, what lessons have we learned from the past that can be applied to the future? Featuring Center for Countering Digital Hate CEO Imran Ahmed, Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, and CEO of Emergent Risk International Meredith Wilson.
Russia may be losing the public opinion battle in North America and Europe, but it has plenty of support elsewhere. Featuring Thea Gioe, Director of Training, Emergent Risk International; Meredith Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, Emergent Risk International.
Disinformation — like reports of a White House bomb blast — can move billions of dollars on Wall Street. Or it can snarl your morning commute. And don’t think you’re immune to such trickery. Featuring Meredith Wilson, CEO of Emergent Risk International, Jimmy Peng, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the National University of Singapore, and Jorie Craig, Head of Digital Integrity for the Institute of Strategic Dialogue.
How to stamp out—or at least dilute—the power and danger posed by disinformation? In this multi-part series, we’ll go over the numerous ideas on the subject. Featuring Clare Melford, Chief Executive Officer of Global Disinformation Index, Megan Marelli, Editorial Director for Meedan, and Meredith Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, Emergent Risk International
The disappearance of local newspapers around the United States over the past 20 years has created so-called “news deserts” – information vacuums that are being filled by peddlers of demagoguery and disinformation. Featuring the journalist who coined the phrase “pink slime” journalism Ryan Zickgraf , former Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Penny Muse Abernathy, and Meredith Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of Emergent Risk International.
His invasion of Ukraine one year ago floundered from the very beginning. But what about Putin’s disinformation efforts? In some parts of the world, his messages appears to have gained – to some degree – traction.
Special thanks to CIA Veteran John Sipher, former Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Intelligence and Research Ellen McCarthy, special correspondent on Soviet affairs of The Wall Street Journal David Satter, and to Meredith Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of Emergent Risk International.
The rise of generative technologies like OpenAI’s ChatGPT offer a tantalizing – and perhaps ominous – look at information that can be easily curated and packaged into distributable false narratives. Even more powerful iterations of AI are just around the corner. Special thanks to Dr. Bruce Schneier, Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society; Dr. David Yoffie, Professor of International Business Administration at Harvard Business School; Meredith Wilson, chief executive officer, Emergent Risk International.
Many Americans—influenced by political leaders and even some health providers—chose to downplay or ignore science-based recommendations from infectious-disease experts to get vaccinated, wear masks, and practice physical distancing. At the same time, unproven, even “dangerous anti-science beliefs and behaviors” spread, gaining traction with some. As a result, notes Scientific American, “more people have died in the U.S. from COVID-19 than in any other country, and our nation has one of the highest per capita death rates in the world.”
On the second anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, we look at the government’s need to recalibrate its approach to domestic terrorism. But a revamping of basic American institutions is needed as well – featuring Dr. David Gioe, Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Director of Studies for the Cambridge Security Initiative and co-convener of its International Security and Intelligence program.
Americans see each other in increasingly tribalistic terms — one side or the other, and the nation seems, at times, a tinderbox for violence. Adversaries (or perhaps enemies) like Russia, China and others are only too happy to pile on. Featuring John Cohen, former acting under secretary for intelligence and the counterterrorism coordinator, U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
We were told decades ago of television’s immense power to do good—or to rip at the fabric of our democracy. Thanks to disinformation, the same holds true today for the internet and social media.
Special thanks to analyst Meredith Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of Emergent Risk International, Counter-terrorism expert John Cohen, and former CIA officer Cindy Otis, author of “True or False.”
One of just three people in American history to be both Secretary of Defense and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency – Leon Panetta shares his views on Russia, Vladimir Putin, China, disinformation, and his worries for the survival of the United States in an age of division and lies. Analyst Meredith Wilson also weighs in.
What lessons have social media firms learned from the 2020 election — and what are they doing as the 2022 midterm election looms? Analyst Meredith Wilson – the chief executive officer of Emergent Risk International – and guest Katie Harbath, a technology executive, chief executive officer of Anchor Change and former director of public policy at Facebook, weigh in.
The immense power and reach of social media and the internet can act as accelerants for disinformation. Paul’s guests include Meredith Wilson, chief executive officer of Emergent Risk International and ERI’s Brady Roberts.
A top CIA official and others explore the long struggle between America and the Soviet Union, and the role disinformation played.