Image - speakers and detail from book cover
Past Event

Barbara McQuade with Joyce Vance: How Disinformation Is Sabotaging America

The epidemic of disinformation and misinformation sweeping through our society is like the weather: Everyone complains about it, but no one does anything about it. Now Barbara McQuade is changing that, offering solutions for countering disinformation and maintaining the rule of law.

MSNBC's legal expert breaks down the ways disinformation has become a tool to drive voters to extremes, disempower our legal structures, and consolidate power in the hands of the few. Americans 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, and 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.

Legal scholar and analyst McQuade will join us to explain how to identify the ways disinformation is seeping into all facets of our society and how we can fight against it. She examines what she calls the "authoritarian playbook"—a history of disinformation from Mussolini and Hitler to Bolsonaro and Trump—and chronicles the ways in which authoritarians have used disinformation to seize and retain power. She reviews disinformation tactics, such as demonizing the other, seducing with nostalgia, silencing critics, muzzling the media, condemning the courts, and stoking violence, and she explains why they work.

Is America particularly vulnerable to disinformation? Does it exploit our First Amendment Freedoms? What can be done to fight it and its effects?

Don't miss this timely exploration of one of the most important forces in the world today.


Speaker photo courtesy the speaker.

March 4, 2024

The Commonwealth Club of California
110 The Embarcadero
Taube Family Auditorium
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States

Image - Barbara McQuade

Barbara McQuade

Legal Analyst, NBC News and MSNBC; Author, Attack from Within: How Disinformation Is Sabotaging America; X @BarbMcQuade

Image - Joyce Vance

In Conversation with Joyce Vance

Legal Analyst, NBC and MSNBC; Distinguished Professor from the Practice of Law, University of Alabama School of Law; X @JoyceWhiteVance