Mayor Johnson Addresses Post-Election Misinformation


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

| 2 min | by Doug Marrin |

In her report to the City Council at its November 16, 2020, meeting, Chelsea Mayor Melissa Johnson recognized the City Staff for their work in the election and addressed how to approach post-election misinformation.

"I do want to spend a moment thanking all of our staff here at the City and in particular Clerk Kaiser, who ran a really terrific election," said the Mayor. "There have been a lot of changes and adjustments made, and a lot more absentee voters than we've had previously. I know all the hard work that went into training and preparing for all different types of outcomes. So, I really want to express my gratitude and appreciation for the efforts and the seamless Election Day that occurred."

"And finally, I just want to touch a little bit about citizenry and good information," continued Mayor Johnson. "It's been a topic that's been reported nationally—misinformation—and how that spreads very easily, and how it can have an impact on our civil discussions."

As a model for discernment, Mayor Johnson pointed to the approach lawyers or journalists might take when given information. One approach assumes the information is wrong until there is corroborating evidence instead of thinking what's said is correct without any verification. The Mayor also shared some questions to ask when evaluating gossip or news.

  • Who is saying the information?
  • Who is your source?
  • How do they know that information?
  • What is their authoritative source for that?
  • Can you corroborate it?
  • Is the person who's providing you the information?
  • Are they biased in this story?
  • Does the story only present one side of the debate?
  • Is there any other independent information or any other source that corroborates or confirms that information?
  • Is this information from another trusted source?
  • And then what don't you know what facts might be left out of that?
  • Are there any reliable sources that challenge these facts?

"I would encourage everyone who is a citizen to think about what your duty is to make sure that when you are sharing information, that you're sharing good sources of information," said Mayor Johnson. "I think that's really important as we continue to work towards improved civil dialogue."

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