To COVID (about a fifth of Americans say they won’t be vaccinated) and to the flu (vaccination rates for that are down by about a third this season), we can in this difficult period add yet another scourge: Information Disorder (no vaccination available).

It is another pandemic, and it has been building for years. Conspiracy theories, misinformation, disinformation, simple old-fashioned, persistent ignorance — they are rampant in the United States today. It is what the Aspen Institute, in a sobering new study, calls “a crisis of trust and truth.”

David M. Shribman is the former executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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