The subject of disinformation is a well-known part of political rhetoric, but it has implications even outside of the sphere of democracy. From the electoral system to schools; from the workplace to hospitals, the consequences of it are far-reaching and dire.
A legal analyst at MSNBC and former U.S. Attorney, Barbara McQuade’s decades of experience in law help inform her authorship of Attack From Within: How Disinformation is Sabotaging America. The book asserts that disinformation has been used deliberately and strategically to polarize, pushing voters to extremes, and disempowering legal structures while empowering a select few. Technological advancements, including rapid developments in artificial intelligence (AI) exacerbate the issue by amplifying false claims and manufacturing credibility.
From historical examples of disinformation in dictators such as Mussolini and Hitler, to contemporary examples of the tactics alleged of former Presidents Trump and Bolsonaro, Attack From Within seeks to help readers – and voters – recognize disinformation, and offers suggestions on how to combat it. McQuade’s talk at Town Hall may interest those who have concerns about the reality and future of truth in a civil society.
Barbara McQuade is a professor 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 analyst 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. She 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.
Jenny A. Durkan was the 56th Mayor of Seattle and previously served as US Attorney under President Obama. As mayor, she worked to make Seattle more equitable, by investing $2.5 billion in affordable housing, providing free transit for youth and two years free college for every Seattle’s high school graduate, and investing millions of new funding in communities of color. Durkan served in leadership positions for the US Conference of Mayors and the C40 Mayors, a global organization focused on fighting climate change. As US Attorney, Durkan increased enforcement of civil rights laws. She served as an advisor to former US Attorney General Eric Holder and chaired the US Department of Justice subcommittee on cybercrime and intellectual property enforcement. Durkan is a fellow in the American College of Trial lawyers and taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Washington School of Law.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.