Democracy & Elections

The Lawfare Podcast: Podcasts Are the Laboratories of Misinformation

Jen Patja, Evelyn Douek, Quinta Jurecic, Valerie Wirtschafter, Chris Meserole
Thursday, January 13, 2022, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With
Brookings

Valerie Wirtschafter and Chris Meserole, our friends at the Brookings Institution, recently published an analysis of how popular podcasters on the American right used their shows to spread the “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. These are the same issues that led tech platforms to crack down on misinformation in the runup to the election—and yet, the question of whether podcast apps have a responsibility to moderate audio content on their platforms has largely flown under the radar. 

Why is that?  This week on Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic talked through this puzzle with Valerie and Chris. They discussed their findings about podcasts and the “big lie,” why it’s so hard to detect misinformation in podcasting, and what we should expect when it comes to content moderation in podcasts going forward. 


Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Evelyn Douek is an Assistant Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and Senior Research Fellow at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. She holds a doctorate from Harvard Law School on the topic of private and public regulation of online speech. Prior to attending HLS, Evelyn was an Associate (clerk) to the Honourable Chief Justice Susan Kiefel of the High Court of Australia. She received her LL.B. from UNSW Sydney, where she was Executive Editor of the UNSW Law Journal.
Quinta Jurecic is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a senior editor at Lawfare. She previously served as Lawfare's managing editor and as an editorial writer for the Washington Post.
Dr. Valerie Wirtschafter is a senior data analyst in the Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technologies Initiative at the Brookings Institution.
Chris Meserole is the director of the Brookings Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology Initiative and a fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution.

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