Monday, April 2, 2018

Traditional news media, and fake news

The issue of "fake news" has seen much debate lately. Video compilation after video compilation is showing how literally, and without exaggeration, dozens of different American news networks are repeating on air the exact same scripts, word for word. There is no independent journalism and fact-checking of any kind. All these news networks are just blindly repeating the same stories, often word-for-word, without doing any research for themselves. The actual source of this script is usually undisclosed.

Several journalists have been filmed by hidden cameras saying how stories are being fabricated simply for the ratings. Moreover, some journalists, whistleblowers, have outright come out and made public presentations about fabricated biased news stories being repeated by news networks, with zero fact-checking. Independent fact-checking by these few journalists has shown diverse sources for these fabricated stories, such as the CIA, or pharmaceutical megacorporations selling a product, for instance.

And this is not restricted to the United States. It's happening all over Europe as well (eg. one such journalist tells in great detail how it's happening in Germany.)

Lately some governments, and the European Union itself, have been talking about outlawing fake news.

Great thing, right? No. It's actually scary. Why? Because those governments are not talking about those traditional news networks. They are referring to the so-called "new media". In other words, social media (such as Facebook and Twitter), YouTube, and so on. And they are not talking about the activities of those traditional news networks on those platforms. They are targeting individual private citizens. Their aim is to penalize individual people for spreading what the government deems "fake news", which in practice means "wrongthink", ie. "wrong" opinions and "wrong" claims about sociopolitical issues.

In fact, eg. the German government has said that it wants to enact a law where all private citizens who want to broadcast online need a permit, a license. They do not want private citizens bypassing government scrutiny. I fear that things like this will only become more and more widespread.

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