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THE WASHINGTON POST

What The 1700s Teach Us About Today's Fake News Epidemic

Just as they were during the information wars of the 18th century, education and critical thinking are key antidotes to disinformation.

Old News, Fake News
Old News, Fake News
Matthijs Tieleman iQ

PHILADELPHIA — Fake news. Active measures. Twitter bots. Not since the 1980s have espionage and disinformation so captivated our collective mind. Many have looked back to the Cold War to understand the implications of these phenomena. After all, Russia, America's Cold War nemesis, is considered the primary culprit in today's most controversial disinformation campaigns.

Yet our media landscape, the breeding and feeding ground of questionable information, also has many similarities to the 18th century. The information wars of this earlier period not only provide perspective — they also provide a solution to the political divisions that disinformation campaigns seek to exploit: the need for a renewed emphasis on education and a return to dispassionate behavior in the public square.

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Coronavirus

The Main COVID Risk Now: Long COVID

Death rates are down, masks are off, but many who have been infected by COVID have still not recovered. Long COVID continues to be hard to diagnose and treatments are still in the developmental stage.

Long COVID feels like a never-ending nightmare for those who suffer from it.

Jessica Berthereau

PARIS — The medical examination took longer than expected in the Parc de Castelnau-le-Lez clinic, near the southern French city of Montpellier. Jocelyne had come to see a specialist for long COVID-19, and exits the appointment slowly with help from her son. The meeting lasted more than an hour, twice as long as planned.

“I’m a fighter, you know, I’ve done a lot of things in my life, I’ve been around the world twice… I’m not saying this to brag, but to tell you my background," says the 40-year-old. "These days, I’m exhausted, I’m not hungry, I no longer drive, I can’t work anymore, I have restless legs syndrome.” She pauses before adding sadly: “I can’t read anymore either.”

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