Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Fake News and the Suppression of Speech and Ideas

Another excellent essay by Fran Porretto:

What We Want

Number Six: Where am I?
Number Two: In the Village.
Number Six: What do you want?
Number Two: Information.
Number Six: Whose side are you on?
Number Two: That would be telling. We want information… information… information.
Number Six: You won't get it.
Number Two: By hook or by crook, we will.[Introduction to every episode of The Prisoner]
     I’d never thought that would be the opening theme to an essay...before today. Even more fantastic, I find myself – for the purposes of this diatribe, at least – in the position of Number Two.
     Perhaps you do, too.

     We want information. We want it rather badly – badly enough to listen to just about anyone who claims to have it. However, it must satisfy certain criteria:
  • It must be timely.
  • It must be complete.
  • It must be unadorned.
  • It must be referenced.
  • It must be unbiased.
     Those are the characteristics of high-quality information. It would constitute “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” It would be very valuable. Yet it’s not that easy to come by. The demand for it is what’s given rise to the “independent journalists” of the World Wide Web.
     You’d think, given the venerability of our journalistic institutions – the ones I’ve taken to referring to as the Media That Once Were – their owners, operators, and legworkers would have grasped the requirements long ago. The obvious desirability of high-quality information “should” have given rise to an enduring supply of it. Yet that seems not to be the case.
     Actually, it’s worse than that. The Media That Once Were are currently embarked upon a campaign to discourageAmericans from seeking high-quality information. The “fake news” gambit is about nothing else. But what’s truly stunning is how open media panjandrums have become about it all. Tucker Carlson gave the matter some consideration, and came away with the following assessment:
     Voters knew more info about a candidate because of the Russia hack. Are people really arguing that we should've been less informed?
     Yes, Tucker, they really are saying exactly that, which is something more Americans should know.

Read the rest here. Fran's blog should be a regular stop for his always insightful and trenchant essays.

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