What a relief it must be for the left to have found an explanation (other than the truth) for their failure to attract the masses to socialism.
The fact is that normal people are not all that attracted by socialism, egalitarianism and liberalism.
But it is less unpleasant for the left to blame “fake news.” Thus Hillary Clinton lost the American presidential race because of fake news, and not because a vast number of people didn’t agree with her policies. How comforting that must be for her.
Likewise Brexit was a result of fake news, and not because people are sick of the way Europe is being run as an overbearing, over-regulated quasi dictatorship that has ignored the aspirations of the ordinary European people for far too long.
The Italian referendum, also.
Like many such phenomena promoted by the left, “fake news” involves a redefinition of language. It doesn’t mean what it would seem to mean. It doesn’t mean news that is untrue. Rather, it has come to mean news that doesn’t fit in with the agenda of the left.
So the death of the American ambassador to Libya being attributed to a video about islam doesn’t qualify as fake news.
That Savita Halappanavar was reported, over and over again, to have died because of not having access to abortion also doesn’t qualify as fake news, even though all the investigations into her death concluded that an abortion would not have saved her life.
Nor does the broadcasting of an unverified tweet that went on to undermine the election hopes of candidate Sean Gallagher – as was done in the last days before the Irish presidential election by RTE in order to have their man appointed to Áras an Úachtaráin.
In none of the above examples would the truth have served the left’s agenda – it rarely does, after all – and so the falsehoods spread are not “fake news.”
Ironically, some of the perpetrators of the above-mentioned falsehoods are now freaking out about the amount of fake news in circulation.
Meanwhile, those who claimed that President-elect Trump could win the American election are apparently guilty of spreading fake news – even though he did actually win.
Fake news is getting so much coverage and attracting so much attention that governments and social media providers are being urged to do something about it.
The one month old phenomenon already has leading experts. One of them, Philip Howard, Oxford professor of sociology, information and international affairs, recently published a piece in the Irish Examiner (http://www.irishexaminer.com/viewpoints/analysis/how-social-media-stood-by-and-did-nothing-about-fake-news-during-brexit-and-us-president-votes-434754.html?google_editors_picks=true), in which he decried the fact that “our systems for measuring public opinion have been breaking down.”
In other words, the mainstream media doesn’t know what is going on, and that’s a problem.
Professor Howard presents a three-pronged approach to help “modern democracies to work,” including “nationwide exit polls, which identify mistakes in how elections are run” and “a regular supply of public policy polls.”
“Mistakes in how elections are run!” What does that remind us of? After the Brexit referendum we did hear people talking with great seriousness – gravitas even – about how the British government had made such mistakes leading to the “wrong” result in the referendum. Is that what he means?
And finally, according to Professor Howard, “democracies need ‘deliberative polls’ that put complex policy questions to representative groups of voters, who are given time to evaluate the possible solutions. These polls engage citizens through extended conversations with experts and each other. They lead to informed decision-making.”
It all sounds far too complicated to facilitate any decision making. Were people unable to make decisions before this whole system was invented? The human race has been around for thousands of years. How did we ever survive without “deliberative polls” putting complex questions to representative groups?
Between the recommendations of Professor Howard and the attitude expressed by Hillary Clinton, President Obama and a whole slew of mainstream media, we can be fairly sure that legislation and regulations will soon be introduced to put further curbs on anyone who opposes the left – or fake news, if you prefer.