Запугивание фейковыми новостями само является фейковой новостью

Запугивание фейковыми новостями само является фейковой новостью

by Евгений Волков -
Number of replies: 1

I write about global education, game-based learning, kids, & culture.  


Don’t worry about fake news. The whole scare is, itself, fake news. Don’t believe a word of it.

Could it be that the news media is still trying to distract us from their own poor performance? After all, if inaccuracy makes a thing “fake,” then all the pundits’ and pollsters’ pre-election day predictions were pretty bad offenders.

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Or perhaps we should define fake news as the process of intentionally producing false stories for rhetorical reasons, in order to persuade people to shift perspectives. Which would make most of the advertising industry guilty. After all, you don’t NEED that new iPhone. Beats headphones don’t actually sound better. And most of those gifts you got for Christmas—the stuff you’ve been coveting all year—in the long run, won’t make you feel more beautiful, satisfied, or content. Every product placement, talk show interview, and biopic is a culprit. In some ways, the media has always been an amalgamation of useful little white lies strung together to impact your perception of reality.

Of course, there are certainly false stories—what Mark Zuckerberg calls, “misinformation.” Hoaxes. Misdirection. Intentional lies. Some are even more nefarious than The National Enquirer and The Onion. But fake news is not worthy of the attention it has gotten following the outcome of 2016 Presidential election. The whole thing is what Alfred Hitchcock called a “MacGuffin.”

While well-meaning people run around trying to protect children (and gullible adults) from so-called “fake news,” anyone in the United States who actually leans totalitarian must be ecstatic. They know that a “fake news” MacGuffin is an ideal first step toward squashing the First Amendment. Once the citizenry accepts the conceit that some news is “real” (and therefore, good) while other news is “fake” (and therefore, bad) they’ll voluntarily submit to censorship. Freedom of the press can easily be replaced by sanctioned propaganda.

Of course, on the wide-open internet, propaganda is not about controlling the content, but rather about controlling the protocols and processes for delivery. That’s why, in a November 19th post, Mark Zuckerberg already explained that Facebook is working on building “better technical systems” to detect “misinformation.” He and Sheryl Sandberg plan to solve this problem by creating algorithms which can control what we see with increasing precision. Am I the only one who finds that line of thinking problematic? We need to improve ordinary people’s capacity to judge the quality of news, to understand where it came from, not to continue further down the path we’re on: hiding the genesis of ideas behind ever more seductive user-interface decisions.

To be fair, Zuckerberg’s intentions are good. But I’m not sure he really understands that the robot curators, with their fervent commitment to data analytics, are actually the problem. He wrote, “we are exploring labeling stories that have been flagged as false by third parties or our community.” And he promised new feedback mechanisms that would allow everyday users to “report stories as fake.”

I’m particularly looking forward to this last one (allowing everyday users to “report stories as fake”); there’s a lot I’d like to report. For example, I have friends and relatives who are not really happy in their romantic relationships but keep posting photos of “date night” in order to convince us (and, presumably, themselves) that everything is peachy. There are certified narcissistic materialists in my network who keep posting semi-spiritual memes about gratitude and positivity which seem completely out of resonance with the sense of dark emptiness I feel when I’m in their presence. And parents keep posting anecdotes and photos of their children which suggest that their families have significantly fewer temper tantrums and meltdowns than I experience on a daily basis.

See, the real problem is not falsehoods or inaccuracies, but rather that everything about the popular landscape of digital media currently encourages us to see the world the way we want it to be. Combine that with an education system which pays little more than lip service to critical thinking—a system that’s barely cognizant of the fact that a skills-based approach to training inherently promotes specialization and, therefore, narrow-mindedness—and you end up with a population that’s been encouraged to live with poor vision. You know the platitude: when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Democracy’s biggest threat is not tyrants, but rather citizens who are satisfied with their own limited view of reality. That’s why, when Plato wrote Republic, he put education at the center of the politeia—πολιτεία (citizenship, government). He recognized the need for critical thinking. Plato called it Philosophy—Philei Sophia— which literally means “love of wisdom.” He knew that for a society to function, it needs to cultivate the children into adults who are passionately in love with the quest for truth, the quest to discover that each current reality is nothing more than a fallacy, a shadow, a reflection, a pale imitation of the real deal.

This sort of conviction for critical thinking—in the 21st century, maybe we need to call it critical media literacy—feels especially difficult in a world where all of our media is social. It’s easier to point fingers at others. After all, our daily timelines define us and our news streams are intricately tangled up with personal identity narratives. Challenging the information in front of our eyes becomes tantamount to questioning our own sense-of-self. And any serious engagement can cause a nervous breakdown.

Critical thinking is painful. Plato equated it with walking out of a dark cave and staring directly into a bright light. That’s what it feels like when you’re willing to question your most sacred beliefs no matter how much it hurts. It’s a kind of masochistic intellectual flagellation. Sounds horrible, but Plato promised it was worth it. Afterward, the contentment we get from constant spectacle will be replaced with true pleasure—essential pleasure.

Today, we mistakenly point to “fake news” when the real problem lies within us. Algorithmic curation is just the newest technology in a long historical line of shadow-stimulants that excel at numbing us into complacency. The issue is not the reality that’s presented to us, but rather our incapacity to challenge it.

Jordan Shapiro, PhD. is a Senior Fellow for the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. Visit his website or subscribe to his newsletter: www.jordanshapiro.org. Twitter: @Jordosh

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In reply to Евгений Волков

Re: Запугивание фейковыми новостями само является фейковой новостью

by Евгений Волков -

Nikola Brajkovic Eventually you realize that everything's bullshit. Even the pursuit to rationality makes you less 'rational'

Евгений Волков
Евгений Волков The story is about some different issue.
Nikola Brajkovic
Nikola Brajkovic Evgeny, I understand Advertising. I understand that people can buy sexy swimwear but that they can't buy the satisfaction and self-esteem which comes from growing into the person they want to be. I understand that people can buy roses but that they can...Еще
Nikola Brajkovic
Nikola Brajkovic I posted a remark in a pretty shitty and indirect way but to clarify it, what I meant by it is that any attempt to "control the protocols and proccesses for delivery" [on facebook] will only create algorithms which define the logic of human behaviour. And, in the end humans behave more like machines and less like humans - unable to make their own decisions. The core behind this - the philosophy of the Elites is rested in pure rationality and certainty.

Certainty that their world-view is correct. But this type of pure certainty is dangerous. It's what causes people to strap bombs into themselves and blow up a crowd of people, because they have 20 virgins waiting for them in heaven. 

In the same way, pure rationality is dangerous. It can't be achieved by humans. And anyone who behaves in that way is full of shit. Because I personally know how hard it is to achieve.

We have too many biases. Too many fallacies. And any attempts to develop systems to acheive it make us less rational.

But hey, what do I know. I'm probably wrong (And what's more , is you don't even have a dislike button to disagree with me ;) )
Nikola Brajkovic
Nikola Brajkovic See how smug I am. It's fucking disgusting. That's what rationality does to you.
Евгений Волков
Евгений Волков K Popper had wrote about a necessity of CRITICAL rationalism in his book 'Open Society and its Enemies'.

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