…bing) what they’d read, they relied on one particular tool to vet the trustworthiness of the media. It’s something I call scriptural inference, and I first witnessed it in action at a Bible study group on a rain-soaked Virginia day in February 2018.
Overall this is a very interesting and relevant article providing information on how people can end up in a world of confusion with a complete absence of truth.
Unless I have misread, your use of the term “scriptural inference” (incidentally this links to the abstract of the reference to “cultural dopes” with no reference to your term in the open abstract) does not include the full relevance of that scriptural review technique. My take of your point is that conservatives are often Christian religionists and have been taught to ‘research’ things based on the technique of unpacking, specifically protestant, scriptural relevance.
Due to this their efforts result in either bad or distorted information from Google based on the search terms they use. The failure of this is in not understanding the algorithms of Google search or the cultural factors loading those algorithms. This needs to be corrected and is now clearly understood in the use of AI/ML for these purposes. On a human level I would suggest that this is not simply being innocently fooled by Google but by the very nature of the conservative mind illustrated by its heavy involvement with dogmatic sources of information. This results in the refusal to actively search for multiple sources and refusing to take a single source as a base reference,
Having grown up in rural, fundamentalist America I am very familiar with this type of “analysis”. The quotes are there for a reason. These people are taught to accept a leader’s interpretation of the only legitimate source of knowledge. Their research is carefully structured to be strictly exegesis of the solely truthful document. Your conclusion is correct but the problem is much more fundamental. This produces the same failure in analysis of the biblical documents by exegesis versus objective and historically comparative analysis. The later quickly reveals the complex and conflicted sources that immediately destroys the assumption of infallibility of the people wasting thousands of hours proving their taught assumptions as correct while never seeing the larger reality.
Whether we consider this the result of a genetic, authoritarian tendency or learned characteristic it will always produce the taught result. We’ve always assumed that education will correct for this but there is a percent of the population that is, I’m afraid, immune. But that is a whole different issue than you are addressing here.