The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection is midway through a blockbuster series of hearings exploring Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and disrupt the peaceful transfer of power. Central to those efforts, of course, was the Big Lie—the false notion that Trump was cheated out of victory in 2020.
This week on Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Kate Starbird, an associate professor of Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington—and repeat Arbiters of Truth guest. Kate has come on the show before to talk about misinformation and Jan. 6, and she and a team of coauthors just released a comprehensive analysis of tweets spreading misinformation around the 2020 election. So she’s the perfect person with whom to discuss the Jan. 6 committee hearings and misinformation. What does Kate’s research show about how election falsehoods spread, and who spread them? How has, and hasn’t, the Jan. 6 committee incorporated the role of misinformation into the story it’s telling about the insurrection? And is there any chance the committee can break through and get the truth to the people who most need to hear it?