Sunday, July 23, 2017

Misinformation & Disinformation

Ben from Traverse City asked about the difference between disinformation and misinformation. Let’s start with the base word information. Information is knowledge communicated about some particular fact, subject, or event.

According to the Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd ed., there are about 33 negative prefixes – variations on the concept of  “not.”  Some of them simply signify the absence of something; they are not judgmental. Some of them are pejorative or point to blame.

The prefix dis- carries more than a whiff of blame. It can signify that something was deliberately withheld or manipulated. The word disinformation falls within that realm. It signifies the dissemination of deliberately false information, something practiced by many governments and all spy agencies.

The prefix mis- is neutral in its connotation. It signifies that something is factually incorrect, but not because information was manipulated.  Misinformation is inaccurate, but it is not an attempt to deceive. People of goodwill will scramble to correct their mistake when it is discovered. Dissemblers will continue to lie with a straight face to protect their disinformation.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about two year’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.


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