The recent flurry of “News” stories about fake news is a bit sad and concerning. To me it signals a coming crackdown on independent media who, rightly or wrongly, challenge the official narrative. Fake news is as old as language. Even older if we consider the ability of some animals to mimic the appearance and sounds of other animals to lure prey or scare away predators. Camouflage is fake news.
There was a time when “news” and journalists only reported events that occurred. Walter Cronkite sitting on the television and reciting a list of events that had occurred that day was what was considered “the news.” Then, in what was called “commentary,” pundits and professionals would try to help the viewer or reader understand the context of the events. Back then the FCC had rules that made it illegal to give commentary without letting the viewer know they were hearing a commentary and not the news. Today, things are very different.
What is considered to be “the news” today is mostly commentary, a narrative, and very little reporting on actual events. Moreover, “news” outlets will select events to report that support a specific narrative, and ignore the ones that do not. They will even conflagrate non-events as a justification to repeat a certain narrative over and over again. With the main overall goal being the constant repetition, or branding, of a particular narrative. Just consider the amount of media that was created around a pointless, empty statement made by one candidate or the other in the run-up to the last election. Or, consider how often the phrase “sources tell us” is used as a news event, without an proof, to justify a certain narrative.
Breitbart, as despicable as it is, is no more guilty of fake news than ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, or FoxNews. Everyone is trying to control the perception the public has of our world through managing the narrative we hear and accept as the truth. The reason they want to do this, the reason they want to control perception, is for what every philosopher (and quantum physicist) knows; perception is 99% of reality. We all have the power to create history through the choices we make every day as to how we live our lives, and the history we create is dictated by our perception of the world we live in.
What all these stories about fake news neglect to remind their readers and viewers, is that historically, governments and tyrants of all sorts are by far the most prolific users of fake news than any private media outlet. “Remember the Maine!” or the incident in the Gulf of Tonkin, the Kuwaiti girl (who turned out to be the daughter of a well connected politician) falsely claiming that Iraqi soldiers were pulling babies from incubators, and everything we heard in the lead up to invading Iraq in 2003 are some of the more obvious examples.
Censoring “fake news” will be no different than the “war on drugs” or the “war on terror.” The goal is not to eliminate the problem, but only to control it and use it more effectively towards a specific goal. A goal which most likely would not survive being exposed to the light of day.
The only way to survive and navigate all this information, real and fake, is no different than how the average person deals with a car or insurance salesman: we should not trust anyone who stands to gain from the information they are offering us. The only reason any person would give us information is for their own gain. Even our mothers, offering us good advice, stand to gain from our being more successful. Thus, we must always make the effort to think for ourselves and build our own narratives. Narratives that we are willing to be responsible for, no matter how much of it is in alignment with the most popular narrative. (Responsibility being measured by our willingness to give our energy to, and sacrifice ourselves, for the cause.)
This is not too difficult. We all do it already with the medical news that we hear every day… Especially pertaining to diet and exercise.