Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Just more thoughts

Picking up on my previous post titled Just a thought I have further exercised my grey matter in the hope of imagining an antidote to the poison introduced of late by the Brexiteers and Trumpists. Could a kind of networked truth-telling communitarianism be part of the answer?

from Quartz
“Many citizens around the world are turning their sights inward to what they can control: the cooperative economy and becoming more connected with their local communities.”

Two-thirds of America’s hundred largest cities are controlled by Democratic Party mayors, aware of and concerned by the pressures within the communities for which they are responsible. The mayors need to be on the front line in the battle against ‘disinformation’, intentionally false or misleading information spread to deceive target audiences. The English word is a translation of the Russian дезинформация, transliterated as ‘dezinformatsiya’. The strategies of deception from Sun Tsu’s The Art of War had been studied in Moscow and widely used by the KGB: “I will force the enemy to take our strength for weakness, and our weakness for strength, and thus will turn his strength into weakness”. The echo-chamber filter-bubbles propagated by Twitter and Facebook with their clickbait culture rewarding eyeballs at the cost of integrity have added powerful tools of which the Soviet schemers could only dream.

Post-factualist discourse marks a political culture in which debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details of policy, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored. Post-truth differs from traditional contesting and falsifying of truth by rendering it of secondary importance. It became widespread during the 2016 presidential election in the United States and the 2016 referendum on membership in the European Union in the United Kingdom.

Inhibiting the viral spread of fake news will be one of the challenges to be faced as a matter of urgency. Journalism guru Jeff Jarvis has written at length here about how this sanitization might be achieved. Success would mean the unmasking of America’s president-elect as a false prophet whose words on behalf of the ‘ordinary people’ will prove to be nothing but empty rhetoric.

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