Correcting Misinformation
Photo Credit: The Age

Recently Kevin Rudd, the Australian Prime Minister, made an upsetting announcement. He declared that all refugees arriving by boat will be transported to Papua New Guinea and not settled in Australia.

Not only has the country decided to illegally shirk its responsibilities and agreements with the UN, many Australians agree that it’s the right move.

How did this happen?

For years, both major political parties and the media have been telling people that anyone arriving by boat is “an illegal immigrant”. It’s far from the truth, but the label has stuck and with so many people believing it, Rudd may win the upcoming election.

Many businesses and organizations find themselves in a similar situation. So how can you go about correcting misinformation?

Start Early
– Set the stage. Before there are any issues talk about what you do. People are more likely to believe whomever was first.

Talk Often
– Interviews, FAQ page on your site, social media – do it all. Then when a curious citizen Googles to find out more, there’s a great chance your side of the story will rank higher.

Monitor and Myth Bust
– You should already be watching what people are saying online. Jump into conversations and correct information. Just remember to play nice and build conversation not enemies.

Build Relationships
– The Australian situation proves that the media is not independent, as much as we like to think the Fourth Estate still exists. Getting to know the key reporters will ensure they’ll call for your comments before they publish.

Recruit Influential Spokespeople
– Are any celebrities, sports people or media faces sympathetic to your issue? Ask if they can be interviewed endorsing you. If not an interview, a tweet or YouTube video from their account may open their fans’ eyes.

Don’t get nasty
– This is a hard one. You’re passionate about the issue and want everyone to share your passion. Telling people they’re wrong or they are stupid won’t win their respect. Take an educational approach. Don’t be afraid to ask their viewpoint, so then you know what facts to share. Also, there are some people you just won’t be able to get through to. Accept this and politely focus your attention on those you can sway. If you don’t believe me, check out this list of people presented with facts and still deny the truth.

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