The Mueller report has, in part, been released, and while Attorney General William Barr’s report concluded that it found nothing incriminating of President Donald Trump, it seems that it’s certainly a condemnation of us, both as voters and processors of information in a digital age.
Here’s what we know, laid out in Barr’s summary, polling data and interviews with countless voters over the last few years: we are duped, quite often and quite easily. We know another country sought to influence our election and was successful at it, mass distributing the nonfactual memes and Facebook posts that helped put Trump into office. Inversely, voters on the left (myself included) have been rabid for Mueller’s report for two years, hopeful to hang our hats on something more than disagreeable policies, decorum and habitual lying as reasons to dislike the president (as if that’s not enough).
Having 24-7 access to information and commentary is a privilege that I probably rely on too much, but I think we’re lucky to have it. Unfortunately, that also makes it easier for us to become targets for those who want to spread misinformation and take advantage of us, whether that’s politically or monetarily (how many of us are still waiting for a check to hit our bank accounts from that Nigerian prince?).
An age in which news is posted en masse by both credible and disreputable news outlets, and pundits and tweeters alike, has given way to a flurry of disinformation that we’ve unfortunately all fallen victim to, Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, teenager or senior citizen. We tend to believe what we want to believe, and sometimes it takes a two-year investigation to keep us in check.
Democrats should give weight to the Mueller report and move forward (it’s not as if there’s a shortage of problems surrounding our administration to take issue with), though I suspect they’ll follow the same path that many Republicans took in regards to the Benghazi scandal and Hillary Clinton’s emails, and that the question of Donald Trump’s relationship to Russia will continue to linger over the next several years, and certainly over next year’s election.
The 2020 election is around the corner, and social media will surely be just as big of a factor in it as it was three years ago (if not bigger). But I challenge you all to unfollow the routine posters of misinformation, or, better yet, seek out credible news outlets – those like the Associated Press – when trying to decide who to vote for. Because if the Mueller report told us anything, it’s that sometimes, it’s better to just log off and read a newspaper than to get your news from Facebook.