© 2024 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Why so many decide to be so wrong about so much

Ways To Subscribe

 As we head out to the Thanksgiving family get-together to spend quality time with many of our kin from the opposite side of the political divide, it could help to know why so many are so wrong about so many things.

From the origins of COVID-19 to the effects of climate change to the running of elections, millions of Americans are all-in on their beliefs that are simply not true. They are convinced that the border is a war zone, that communists run the government’s deep state and QAnon has a plan that will save America.

In the new book “Wrong: How Media, Politics, and Identity Drive Our Appetite for Misinformation,” expert in media and politics Dannagal Goldthwaite Young explains that cultural and social identities are so important to us, that many are willing to embrace the ridiculous to maintain their status and place in these groups.

Political leaders and media organizations are able to capitalize on the desire to belong by producing and spreading misinformation.

It turns out that for many who are deeply committed to the Trump world of alternative fact, if being wrong allows them to feel good about themselves, decode the world, have control over it, or connect to a reinforcing community, then they don't want to be right.


Dannagal G. Young (Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication) is a Professor of Communication and Political Science at the University of Delaware where she studies the content, audience, and effects of nontraditional political information. She has published over sixty academic articles and book chapters on the content, psychology, and effects of political information, satire, and misinformation. Her book "Irony and Outrage" examines satire and outrage as the logical extensions of the respective psychological profiles of liberals and conservatives (Oxford University Press, 2020).

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255 or email thesource@tpr.org.

This interview will be recorded Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Stay Connected
David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi