Obama says he underestimated the threats posed by disinformation

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Apr 7, 2022 | CYBERSCOOP

Former President Barack Obama said Wednesday that during his presidency he did not foresee how rampant disinformation would pose threats to democracies worldwide. 

“It’s something I grappled with a lot during my presidency, I saw it sort of unfold, and that is the degree to which information — disinformation, misinformation — was being weaponized and we saw it,” Obama told Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg in an interview. “But I think I underestimated the degree to which democracies were as vulnerable to it as they were, including ours.”

Pointing to the fact that a huge number of Americans have elected not to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which he called a “medical miracle,” Obama added that he doesn’t “see how we we win the contest of ideas if, in fact, we are not able to agree on a baseline of facts that allow the marketplace of ideas to work.”

Obama talked at length about the Russian invasion of Ukraine during the wide-ranging interview and said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions are “a bracing reminder for democracies that have gotten flabby and diffused and feckless around the stakes of things that we tended

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