Rus­sian ads are not the big­gest prob­lem

The Mercury News Weekend - - OPINION -

As Congress wrings its hands about Rus­sia buy­ing ads on so­cial me­dia, they tact­fully ig­nore the big­ger prob­lem: There are enough naïve, gullible vot­ers to swing elec­tion re­sults. It’s hardly Rus­sia’s fault that so many vot­ers be­lieved that we can re­duce the debt by cut­ting taxes and in­creas­ing spend­ing, that we can get bet­ter health care with cheap, worth­less in­sur­ance plans, that the path to pros­per­ity is coal, thatHil­lary Clin­ton led a child pornog­ra­phy op­er­a­tion in the base­ment of a pizza par­lor. Rus­sia and cy­ber­war­fare are con­cerns, but the prob­lem in the last elec­tion is deeper: How will our In­ter­net-driven Democ­racy 2.0 thrive if we can’t en­sure that our cit­i­zens de­velop crit­i­cal think­ing skills? — Jerry Smith, Palo Alto

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