American society is more polarized than ever before. We are strategically being pushed apart by disinformation--the deliberate spreading of lies disguised as truth--and it comes at us from all sides: opportunists on the far right, Russian misinformed social media influencers, among others. It's endangering our democracy and causing havoc in our electoral system, schools, hospitals, workplaces, and in our Capitol. Advances in technology including rapid developments in artificial intelligence threaten to make the problems even worse by amplifying false claims and manufacturing credibility.
In Attack from Within, legal scholar and analyst Barbara McQuade, shows us how to identify the ways disinformation is seeping into all facets of our society and how we can fight against it. The book includes:
- The authoritarian playbook a brief history of disinformation from Mussolini and Hitler to Bolsonaro and Trump, chronicles the ways in which authoritarians have used disinformation to seize and retain power.
- Disinformation tactics--like demonizing the other, seducing with nostalgia, silencing critics, muzzling the media, condemning the courts; stoking violence--and reasons why they work.
- An explanation of why America is particularly vulnerable to disinformation and how it exploits our First Amendment Freedoms, sparks threats and violence, and destabilizes social structures.
- Real, accessible solutions for countering disinformation and maintaining the rule of law such as making domestic terrorism a federal crime, increasing media literacy in schools, criminalizing doxxing, and much more.
Disinformation is designed to evoke a strong emotional response to push us toward more extreme views, unable to find common ground with others. The false claims that led to the breathtaking attack on our Capitol in 2020 may have been only a dress rehearsal. Attack from Within shows us how to prevent it from happening again, thus preserving our country's hard-won democracy.
Barbara McQuade is a professor from practice at the University of Michigan Law School, her alma mater, where she teaches courses in criminal law, criminal procedure, national security, and data privacy. She is also a legal expert for NBC News and MSNBC, and a co-host of the podcast #SistersInLaw. From 2010 to 2017, McQuade served as U.S Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. Ms. McQuade was appointed by President Barack Obama, and was the first woman to serve in her position. Earlier in her career, she worked as a sports writer and copy editor, a judicial law clerk, an associate in private practice, and an assistant U.S. attorney. She and her husband, Dan Hurley, have four children and live in Ann Arbor.
McQuade will be in conversation with Kimberly Atkins Stohr. Kimberly Atkins Stohr is a senior opinion writer and columnist for Boston Globe Opinion. She is also an MSNBC contributor, co-host of the Politicon podcast #SistersInLaw, and guest host on WBUR’s On Point. Previously, Kimberly was the first Washington, DC-based news correspondent for WBUR. She has also served as the Boston Herald's Washington bureau chief, guest host of C-SPAN's morning call-in show's Washington Journal, and a Supreme Court reporter for Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and its sister publications. She has appeared as a political commentator on a host of national and international television and radio networks, including CNN, Fox News, NBC News, PBS, NPR, Sky News (UK), and CBC News (Canada).