Minds and Machines

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 231–240

Disinformation: The Use of False Information

  • James H. Fetzer

DOI: 10.1023/B:MIND.0000021683.28604.5b

Cite this article as:
Fetzer, J.H. Minds and Machines (2004) 14: 231. doi:10.1023/B:MIND.0000021683.28604.5b


The distinction between misinformation and disinformation becomes especially important in political, editorial, and advertising contexts, where sources may make deliberate efforts to mislead, deceive, or confuse an audience in order to promote their personal, religious, or ideological objectives. The difference consists in having an agenda. It thus bears comparison with lying, because “lies” are assertions that are false, that are known to be false, and that are asserted with the intention to mislead, deceive, or confuse. One context in which disinformation abounds is the study of the death of JFK, which I know from more than a decade of personal research experience. Here I reflect on that experience and advance a preliminary “theory of disinformation” that is intended to stimulate thinking on this increasingly important subject. Five kinds of disinformation are distinguished and exemplified by real life cases I have encountered. It follows that the story you are about to read is true.

assassination Assassination Science disinformation fabricated evidence JFK misinformation Murder in Dealey Plaza The Warren Report 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • James H. Fetzer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of MinnesotaDuluthUSA

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