Archive for November 18th, 2016

post-truth-bannerI work in a very subjective field.  Art allows you to take what is before you and interpret it through your own personal preferences and feelings.  You and I can take in a work of art and come away with very different responses to it.  You might hate it and I might like it very much.  Or vice versa.  Both of us are having the appropriate responses for ourselves. Your response is not made wrong by my response and vice versa.

It’s subjective.  It’s simply what we feel about that particular thing. There is no absolute right or wrong.  Works for art and pizza toppings.

But facts are objective, not subjective.  The facts simply are what they are.  Our feelings do not make the facts right or wrong.

That last sentence in itself should be a fact but that is no longer the case.  We are living in a post-truth world, my friends.  We are now free to believe what we want to believe to be true.

Fake news stories have displaced facts as our main source of information.

And you know that’s true because you’ve seen the stories.  Maybe even believed some of them because they reinforced your own beliefs and narrative.  How many of you read about Planned Parenthood or George Soros paying Trump protesters $18 an hour/$3500 week and busing them in fleets to sites?  How about Pope Francis endorsing Trump for president?  Or the stories that Trump won both the electoral and popular vote? Or that President Obama is signing an executive order that would invalidate the election?


All are fake news stories.  And these examples are but a tiny sample.

In an article on the Business Insider site :  According to data from a Facebook-monitoring tool cited by BuzzFeed, the top 20 fake news stories collectively got more engagements — shares, likes, and comments — than 20 factually accurate news stories shared by mainstream news outlets.

Fake news has become a thriving cottage industry.  The more outlandish the story, the more clicks and higher income for the perpetrator.  In a story in the Washington Post, Paul Horner, a renowned fake news creator talks about some of the stories he created during the presidential campaign.  Some had such wild claims about Clinton that he believed they would be quickly debunked and those who ran with them would be exposed and embarrassed. But it turns out he overestimated their desire for truth and their willingness to look beyond the headlines.

A couple of key quotes from the article:

Honestly, people are definitely dumber. They just keep passing stuff around. Nobody fact-checks anything anymore — I mean, that’s how Trump got elected. He just said whatever he wanted, and people believed everything, and when the things he said turned out not to be true, people didn’t care because they’d already accepted it. It’s real scary. I’ve never seen anything like it.

I thought they’d fact-check it, and it’d make them look worse. I mean that’s how this always works: Someone posts something I write, then they find out it’s false, then they look like idiots. But Trump supporters — they just keep running with it! They never fact-check anything! Now he’s in the White House. Looking back, instead of hurting the campaign, I think I helped it. And that feels [bad].

Well, the joke is on us all.  We have lost sight of the objective truth and facts which once served as a moral compass.

We are now dealing with subjective feeling, something that can be easily influenced by a skilled manipulator.  Believe me– and beware of anyone using that phrase!— I know this to be fact.  My job for many years now has been to manipulate material into something that can be felt.

Answers?  I wish I knew.   You can’t easily change a deeply reinforced feeling or belief even when it based on a non-factual basis.  I urge you all to read beyond the headlines.  Learn to research.  Do not easily accept that thing which seems too good to be true, especially when it fits your own belief.  Check it out thoroughly.

But be objective first.  Leave the subjective for things like paintings and music or pizza toppings.




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