The SchwartzReport tracks emerging trends that will affect the world,
particularly the United States. For EXPLORE it focuses on matters of health in
the broadest sense of that term, including medical issues, changes in the
biosphere, technology, and policy considerations, all of which will shape our
culture and our lives. Something very insidious is going on in our world today. Something
that is directly eating away American democracy. I am speaking here of
adult illiteracy, dropping education levels amongst children, and the
weaponization of misinformation trends that collectively have combined to create an alternate reality with alternate facts. When the Founders created the First Amendment in 1791 they understood the
power of misinformation. Someone spreading a false rumor in a bar, a
printer distributing flyers filled with misinformation. A charismatic
speaker spewing lies to a crowd in a square. The amendment’s wording
itself reveals their thinking. “Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or
abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the
people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a
redress of grievances.”1

The idea of an internet containing social media read each day by tens
of millions, who carry around a […]

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