FAKE NEWS! SAD!

Just a quick rumination on Fake News:

I think we should all be in agreement by now that fake news as a term is over. Anything anyone disputes or disagrees with is now fake news. Really, there is no such thing in 2017 as “fact news.” As I mentioned in an earlier post, in American society, the media has been democratized to where it is truly a Choose Your Own Adventure game. There are parallel medias on the Right and Left, and then there is the legacy media, which try to play it ‘straight’ but their credibility on the right and left is so damaged that I wonder what kind of market there will be for them in the future.

Let’s face it — the Trump bombshell last night was useless. Sure, it was amusing. Sure, it was astonishing. But it’s also unverifiable. Yet it spreads like wildfire across social media…as information consumers, we can’t “unknow” that memo. Many people will always wonder if its true or not. Who knows! That’s how ‘news’ works in 2017.

Where does that leave us?

It leaves us searching for answers we can’t find. The genie is most definitely out of the bottle. And it certainly is an exercise in wish-fulfillment…news is now what we want it to be, not what “is”. Now, people must learn how to play the media and the news game for their own self-interest. News as entertainment is largely here to stay. Politics may be about making societal decisions and it might seem deadly serious (and it IS!), but it too has been caught in the grasp of the entertainment industry. Obama entertained us with his speeches. Trump entertains us with his showmanship and a “what will he say next?” air. The mediated environment through which we experience politics shifts its meaning to us.

Politics is ever changing, as is communications technology. Nobody can predict the next 15 years. Who knows how we will be receiving information? Or sending it? The internet was unthinkable 30 years ago.

So I leave you with a question: where do we go from here?