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Anorak News | Pedlars of fake news and plastic turkeys are championing democracy

Pedlars of fake news and plastic turkeys are championing democracy

by | 27th, November 2016

Do you recall those halcyon days when truth ran through the media as blood flows through a virgin’s veins? No, me neither. In recent times, the media has become open. Great. The old media refer to the most vibrant parts of new media as ‘social media’, which is not like the, well, unsociable media, whose job was to tell not listen. Those “gatekeepers” of truth have seen the doors to the temple blown open.

The Guardian is aghast. Andrew Smith says the “pedlars of fake news are corroding democracy”. Lots of voices being heard is the enemy of democracy, whereby lots of voices get heard. Got it? No, me neither. To put the tin lid on the snottiness, Smith writes in a section called – irony of ironies – “Comment Is Free”.

He notes:

In the past week, however, the collective postmortem – on the left and right of politics – has focused on a concern with far greater long-term impact: the accidental or deliberate propagation of misinformation via social media.

Not media. Social media, something to be viewed with circumspection and the kind of disdain a Guardian writer usual reserves for tabloids. So nothing like the other sorts of fact-pure media, then.

Many millions of people saw and believed fake reports that the pope had endorsed Trump; Democrats had paid and bussed anti-Trump protesters; Hillary Clinton was under criminal investigation for sexually assaulting a minor.

Millions saw. Agreed. Millions believed? How do we know that? Where did we read that? Or do we just assume that Trump voters are all too thick to seek out objectivity and go and find the real story? You know, like proper journalists do – or don’t do, given that so much news is shaped by the journalism of attachment, exposing the dead and churning stories leaked in reams of data. Sod all that searching for truth and just cop a load of subjective facts and knowing angles.

Smith adds:

About the only accusation not levelled at Clinton was implication in the murder of JFK, and that was because Trump had already used it against his Republican primary rival Ted Cruz. If democracy is predicated on reliable information, it’s in serious trouble right now.

Democracy is predicated on nothing other than one adult getting one vote. How you chose to be informed it up to you. There are lots of voices. Pick your poison. It might even be the case – get this – that media of all strains – social, anti-social, unsociable and that media that gets off on being tied to a radiator and forced to drink its own urine –  presents a version of events of most appeal to its readership and their prejudices.

Social media is no enemy to democracy. On the contrary. The more voices we can tune into, the better for free thought and free speech.

PS: If you want to read some trusty news about US politicians, you can always turn to the Guardian and learn about George W. Bush’s fake turkey. That balls has been up on the paper’s site since 2003.

 

bush plastic turkey
bush fake turkey

PPS: A fake news story about George W. Bush – a politician the Guardian campaigned against – and a monocular news story about Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn being forced to sit on a train might lead you to think the Guardian is, like “corrosive” social media, a tad biased.

Such are the facts.



Posted: 27th, November 2016 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink