Des Pensable copyright 2017
Recently, since the election of Donald Trump as the next US president, stories of “fake news” in the social media has been widely reported in the main stream news media accusing it of altering the election results. Similar stories occurred in Australia during the last election. However, targeting social media by the main stream news is a little like the pot calling the kettle black. Fake news is widely spread throughout the news media throughout the world whether it is the social media or the main stream TV, newspapers and magazines.
The difference is that people on social media can quickly spread stories that they like, feel important or believe to be true to their friends on the social media and this concerns politicians especially during the run up to elections as they fear it may alter peoples’ perception of political parties and their voting intentions.
The truth of course is that fake news been used for decades in the USA, UK and Australia by the Murdoch media empire to distribute political propaganda aimed at directing public discussion and thought in a direction desired by the government of the day and blocking thought in a direction that might be opposite or inconvenient to the government of the day. Some call this mind control and it’s common in every country.
Let’s be quite honest for a moment, fake news are lies spread by malevolent people to deceive and confuse you and your friends into having false beliefs and making poor or incorrect decisions that may cost you money or endanger your health or even your life. The real problem is that many people choose to believe the fake news over the real news.
When a car salesman lies to you, then you can bet it will cost you money. When a gas mining company lies to you about the dangers of a CSG mine they are endangering your family’s health. When a climate change denier spreads lies about climate change they are endangering not only you and your family but the whole world’s future.
In politics it is no different. When a politician lies to you they are treating you and your family with contempt. When a government lies to you about privatisation, health care, state of the budget, global warming, reasons for war and a myriad of other things it appears to be corrupt and you start to think about a change of government.
This is what governments fear. They fear social media because it gives power to people. It gives instant communication of the truth as well as the lies. The truth is much more dangerous to authoritarian western governments such as those in Australia, Canada, UK and USA than the lies.
These governments like to give the illusion that they are benevolent democracies whereas their actions indicate they are psychopathic corporate controlled oligarchies. Actions speak louder than words. Elections are little more than fake reality shows to convince gullible people that they have some type of say in their government. Unless you have a LOT of money, you have no say.
People are not silly. They have recognised that a lot of the news on main stream media is false. Polls show that in the USA the trust in main stream media and the governments are both low and dropping. Trust is the government is not necessarily related to trust in the media as people lose trust in government for many reasons but it’s likely to be a factor. It’s a similar story in Australia.
A significant proportion of people are ignoring the main stream media and getting their news from the social media. Perhaps this is why governments around the world are afraid of social media and consequently already blocking it, censoring it, or are moving in that direction. The people in power in any government can’t control the minds of the people if the people know about all the dirty secrets and corruption within the government.
In the recent US presidential election Wikileaks released a series of emails about Hillary Clinton and the DNC staffers revealing all sorts of lies and political corruption. It led to the head of the DNC resigning. The Wikileaks information was widely disseminated by the social media but largely ignored by the Democrat aligned mainstream media. It wasn’t “fake news” it was “true news” but very inconvenient for the Democrats during election times and consequently falsely claimed to be fake.
Following the election the Democratic aligned main stream news has been running what seems to be a fake news campaign blaming the Russians for interfering with the US elections by hacking Hillary Clinton’s email server and passing the information onto Wikileaks. They are probably suspicious because the USA has been interfering with elections around the world for decades.
The fake news campaign blaming the Russians has had some surprising consequences. In a twitter poll of 84,000 votes which asked who did people believe Wikileaks or US intelligence 83% believed Wikileaks. President Putin is now more popular among Republicans than Democrats as he is perceived to have helped Donald Trump win.
The ad Hominem attack on Russia has had another more insidious consequence. President Obama has introduced and had approved by Congress a new government department, a George Orwell style Ministry of Truth to decide what the government wants the people of the USA to be told is the truth. The old joke about the TV announcer saying
‘Good evening America. This is what we want you to believe’ may soon be true.
It will filter ALL foreign news (read Wikileaks and alternate news) and decide whether they should be censored but will do nothing about fake US main stream media news such as Fox news which has been found to make false statements 58% of the time. Here’s an example. This should help conspiracy stories in the USA thrive but blind the US sheeple to the fact that they are on the door step of totalitarianism. RIP democracy in the USA.
With so much fake news you might expect fact checkers to be important to any government. However, not in Australia as the main Australian fact checker was closed by the conservative Australian Liberal government as it continually highlighted broken promises and false statements made by their senior Australian politicians such as Tony Abbot , Joe Hockey and others. This has allowed Australian politicians to claim any statements that disagree with their point of view is fake news.
On a positive note, there are plenty of fact checking and other sites that can give assistance as to whether news is real or fake and Australia still has an independent fact checking service supplied by the Conversation (see list below).
This story isn’t over by any means. Who knows what the future will bring. Hopefully a new found honesty within the main stream media, possibly a massive growth in social media blog sites spreading the truth about their oligarchies or perhaps a massive censorship to hide the oligarchy’s lies and corruption. Stay tuned.
If you liked this article share it with a friend.
Other related articles by Des Pensable