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"fake news"

  • 03-02-2017 11:57pm
    Registered Users Posts: 20,760 ✭✭✭✭ Akrasia

    Every time someone declares something to be "fake news" my spidey senses tingle.

    Fake news is just newspeak for propaganda, which has been around since the beginning of political engagement.

    Totalitarian regimes used to simply ban media from outside their regime, but with the Internet and social media, its impractical to restrict inward flow of information, so the next step for authoritarians, is to simply declare any opposition views to be lies or propaganda, implying that all of the opposition media is fake, but in the meantime the authoritarians are pumping out propaganda that they imply are the only reliable sources of true information

    The difference now, is that it's a lot easier disseminate information, so anyone can create and publish "news", but it's also much easier to validate facts. The propagandist role is to provide enough 'alternative facts' to keep the loyalists from straying off message.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 9,536 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Manach

    I might disagree somewhat with the OP here.

    There is an ease in which information is found nowadays that is un-surpassed. Between search engines and wikis, this digital generation has potentially a treasure trove of factual material that is available online on their screens. However, the issue is with the harvesting of this data and how this is presented in cliche sized chunks.

    The author Nicholas Carr in his book The Shallows catalogs this effect and the loss of critical thinking that comes from deeper reflection and thought that comes from more in-depth investigations . That is not to say that in older times, for instance the duping of various Western sympathisers who visited Stalin’s Russia by the establishment of Potenkim villages (as mentioned in Michael Burleigh’s works), that people did not cleave to only ideas that buttressed their belief - but with technologies and easier ways of forming online walled communities which are in effect echo chambers that only re-enforce existing beliefs and excurogate those, the other, who not agree with the. This is much cheaper for, quoting the OP term, the propagandist to accomplish.

    This has the potential to fracture beyond the concept of “fake news” groups into growing mutually uncomprehending camps. So there is no need to create “alternative facts” as once one side believes something, then it must be false & heretical to the other side - this unfortunately seems to be how social norms are now trending.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,013 ✭✭✭✭ blanch152

    Akrasia wrote: »

    The difference now, is that it's a lot easier disseminate information, so anyone can create and publish "news", but it's also much easier to validate facts.

    I agree with the first part of your sentence i.e. that it is a lot easier to disseminate information and that anyone can "create" and publish news.

    However, the rest I disagree with, hence the putting of create in inverted comments. Essentially, the world today may appear to be full of easily verified facts, but many of the "verified" facts may not be true.