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Published 1 month ago with 10 Comments

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  • leweb
    +6

    The problem is not the fake news, it's the people who want to believe them.

    • AdelleChattre
      +5

      Really? Because it seems to me the problem is people thinking they can expect to take what anyone tells them at face value and not to have to think about it at all. Every single time you see this Newspeak term ‘fake news’ being used, you can bet somebody’s trying to get you to believe whatever they’re pushing without questioning, trying to get you not to believe things they would rather you’d not been told, or otherwise looking to trick you about what should be straightforwardly either truth or not.

      If I, for instance, don’t believe whatever new horseshit has become the official party line, I notice now I’ll be ‘confronted’ for believing fake news. Tell a Democrat there may have been substantive reasons to be glad Clinton hadn’t been elected, and you’ll stand a very good chance of being told you must be getting ‘fake news.’ Tell a Democrat you’re not particularly worried that Russians are hiding under your bed, there’s a significant chance they’ll write you off as a Breitbart reader. Tell a Republican the sky is blue and they’ll tell you that’s ‘fake news’ and that tax cuts for the very wealthiest will take care of that. ‘Fake news’ is right up there with ‘secret evidence’ and ‘WMD slam dunk’ in terms of vacuous, ought-be-alarming weasel words.

      The term ‘fake news’ is useless because it’s nearly impossible to sort out whether it’s being used, in any given instance, to mean propaganda, counter-propaganda, or an infinite regression of these meanings into utter meaninglessness. The mere presence of the term in a discussion reveals the conversation is irredeemably polluted. Best of luck to Jimmy in all his endeavors, and I’m sure he’ll pull down some significant funding from this, but this is going to be a cacophony of Newspeak.

      • leweb
        +4

        I'm not sure how you're countering my argument. I don't care about fake news or real news, there's never been such a thing as "real news". It's simply impossible to disentangle news content from the political inclinations or purposes of the people who publish them. At that level, all news are fake. The real problem, which I keep bringing up, is confirmation bias. People are liking to believe any bullshit as long as it confirms their world view.

        • AdelleChattre
          +3

          I don’t know that I am countering an argument. To me, ‘fake news’ isn’t just a useless concept for the honest inquirer, it’s a sure sign of a poisoned conversation. If ever you find yourself trying to reason with an expression as fatally flawed as that, or as ‘secret evidence’ or ‘secret laws’ or ‘enemy propaganda’ or ‘conspiracy theories’ or ‘savage lies’ or ‘unthinkable suggestion’ and so on and so on, it’s probably not going to be a fruitful dialogue. To me it seems like, and I could very easily be wrong about this, you think ‘fake news’ means news that’s fake. Like Trump saying his electoral landslide was stolen by millions of votes from illegitimate voters.

          I’m saying that as often ‘fake news’ is used to refer to the truth. Like it’s ‘fake news’ that the Syrian government hadn’t invited a NATO invasion by using chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhun. Upshot here is, beware anyone saying they’re going to save you from ‘fake news,’ and whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of assuming that ‘fake news’ magically only ever refers to other people being wrong.

          If you find yourself using that phrase, it seems to me there’s a very good chance you’re the one that’s been propagandized.

          • leweb
            +3

            My point is that there are no fake news, only stupid readers. I guess we're sort of saying the same thing.

    • Firetail
      +4

      That's much the problem with Wikipedia too. No matter how right an opinion is, if those with influence and control want to believe something, there is no chance to offer an opposing side of the argument. Their always be neutral policy is a joke and it won't be any different on this news version.

      • AdelleChattre
        +6

        With Wikipedia, at least, one can rely on the discretion of the most authoritative of the collaborative editors, and a sound process in place for contending with what’s contentious. I mean, we’re not comparing Wikipedia to Encyclopedia Brittanica any longer, obviously, but let’s compare that to the premium brands in the commodification of truth, outfits like Politifact. If Politifact checks out mentally whilst trying to assign a truth-rating, there’s nothing you can do. At the very least, Wikipedia is participatory in a way that a journalistic side-project website run by the Tampa Bay Times never will be.

    • watchdown
      +3

      You are absolutely right.

  • Project2501
    +3

    The least controversal way to point out wikipedia's issues is to link what wikipedia itself lists as controversies and its own article on its reliability. So I guess that's something. Like others have said, at least it would be better then some alternatives.

  • NUCUTA
    +1

    Wikipedia itself isn't reliable.

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