22/2/17

[identity profile] dreamville-bg.livejournal.com
Germany leads fightback against fake news

The article cites a Breitbart "report" about a fictitious mob attack on a German church that never happened. And there's of course Trump's claims about an incident in Sweden that didn't happen when he said it did (well, something did happen a couple days later, but that's an entirely different story).

The point here is about fake news, and deliberate lies in the media that are designed to serve an agenda. As the job of the paid Internet troll and fake news creator has flourished in recent times, I expect another job, that of the impartial (?) fact-checker to take its due place on the scene as well.

As for Germany, the bigger problem there might not be so much the amount of BS conveyed via Facebook, but more the (self?)-censorship in the main news outlets when it comes to reporting on issues that directly affect society, but are outside that imaginary (and arbitrary?) line of acceptable, politically correct subjects. Ignoring those topics is not helping tackle the important issues of the day in any way, it just sweeps them under the rug and postpones the process of addressing them to a later point in time, thus potentially making them worse (the migration topic is a fine example there). Fake news are spreading because the media is losing credibility, fast.

There's an argument that freedom of speech must include the freedom to "lie." For one man's "lies" are another man's truths. If you disagree with a claim that is made, you are free to challenge and debate it in the open, thereby exercising one's own freedom of speech as well. But silencing and censoring "lies" is a very slippery slope. Indeed, who decides what is a lie and what is not? This comes dangerously close to thought policing.

On the other hand, lies are lies and fake news is fake news and in the case of invented facts, it's all a lie and fake news, period. Truth does not come in the form of a multiple choice answer. Interpretation of the facts, on the other hand...

So what say you? Where do you stand on this?

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