The real fake news
Helen Sullivan

I’m a news consumer, UK branch. We’re at the start of a revolution and nobody has a complete picture of what’s happening. There’s a whole new ‘vocabulary’ developing (echo chambers, for example).

However, some folk are less in the dark thn others. A large chunk of the audience is taking everything that’s released as gospel, that’s true.

Manipulation of that population was revealed most clearly during the 2016 Presidential campaign where Mercer’s Big Data was employed by Bannon et al to put a spell on those we now call Trumpets. That spell is still working. Trumpets are still unshaken in their belief that Trump is the Second Coming, regardless of his weird behavior and lucid Twitter dreaming. Nothing, not even getting shafted by Trumpcare, will shake that faith.

Meanwhile, the rest of us consumers are becoming more critical and less inclined to accept anything much at face value. We know about ‘newsbots’ and vested interests but that doesn’t mean we also reject every word.

I’m aware that I now check several different media outlets, of a range of several different levels (for example the BBC across to The Canary) before considering a UK assertion credible. I do the same for the USA (WaPo, HuffPost, Palmer Report). And I can do this quickly, thanks to the same tech that’s causing the problems. So, the news is not all bad. Except that… In UK politics I pass on items sympathetic to my views wilfully, thus becoming part of the problem.

Politicians and the rest have always lied. There’s nothing new except its current title ‘Fake News’: Virgil wrote about the speed of Rumour (a former title) two thousand years ago. The difference now is that Rumour can go global (viral) in minutes. Rebuttals are much slower and bulkier to deliver, requiring evidence and explanation to be believable. Much like medicine, in fact. You can catch a virus easily: treatment and cure take much longer typically.

We will survive. Perversely, it may turn out that it’s Trump/Mercer/Bannon who may be educating us in breaking the spell.

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