The Fake News Inquiry: Old Wine in New Bottles by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

Aovicover_01_02_17ny inquiry into fake news is much like having a Royal Commission into the make up and motivation for Halal food. (The latter absurd proposition has been put forth by a few Australian politicians irritated by the Islamist bogeyman.)  Neither mission is particularly helpful, other than to illustrate a mounting ignorance about a phenomenon that always was.

In the United Kingdom, the Culture, Media and Sports Committee has made an announcement that it will investigate claims about the public being persuaded by untruths and the dazzling influence of propaganda.

Invited submissions are to consider, among others, such questions as to what fake news is and where “biased but legitimate commentary shade into propaganda and lies”; the impact of such news on “public understanding of the world, and also on the public response to traditional journalism”

In the hyperbolic words of committee chairman Damian Collins MP, the rise of such fabrications constituted “a threat to democracy and undermines the confidence in the media in general”. The point is almost prosaic, given that Britain has been labouring under such fabrications and propaganda for a good deal since the seedy reign of tycoon Rupert Murdoch commenced.

A society that actually reads The Sun for factual enlightenment is bound to be a victim of the now touted propaganda that is supposedly afflicting the public. It is astonishing that the only reason that “fake news” has renewed currency is because of recent flavourings emanating from the alt-right, or from the Kremlin. In truth, the condition is a pre-existing one in the fourth estate.

Fake news is standard: cereal, wheat and bran, the fibre of the information world. It has been the foodstuff of media for decades, if not centuries. What matters now is the outrage felt by those in news outlets who believe that a tinge of objectivity still remains in the process of news production. It ignores that news that is often not authentic has always been the mainstay of journalism, a case of unchecked sources, careless investigation or, in some cases, pure invention.

Read the whole article in Ovi Magazine, HERE!

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