Lies, propaganda and fake news: A challenge for our age

Some warn that “fake news" threatens the democratic process itself. “On page one of any political science textbook it will say that democracy relies on people being informed about the issues so they can have a debate and make a decision," says Stephan Lewandowsky, a cognitive scientist at the University of Bristol in the UK, who studies the persistence and spread of misinformation. “Having a large number of people in a society who are misinformed and have their own set of facts is absolutely devastating and extremely difficult to cope with."
.bbc.com/future/story/20170301-lies-propaganda-and-fake-news-a-grand-challenge-of-our-age
A thought-provoking article that reveals the abysmal standard of critical thinking in the general population, even among those once considered “educated”–and the danger of such a situation.

It’s only “absolutely devastating and extremely difficult to cope with” if your goal is to have an informed populace that can self-govern. But who says that’s the goal? And just because someone SAYS that’s their goal doesn’t mean it is. In reality a constant stream of lies and fake news is a useful tool for authoritarians.

It's only "absolutely devastating and extremely difficult to cope with" if your goal is to have an informed populace that can self-govern. But who says that's the goal? And just because someone SAYS that's their goal doesn't mean it is. In reality a constant stream of lies and fake news is a useful tool for authoritarians.
I'm getting the feeling if we could honestly poll the USA, we'd find that people who would identify themselves as 'Children of the Intellectual Enlightenment' are a far greater minority than any of us dare imagine. But, as Psik's recent post about the Arctic Ocean and increased ocean* acidification makes plain, it don't matter that much any more. The clock is running out and we continue doing everything we can to destroy the biosphere that created, if not us, then definitely our society - as fast as possible. Rate we're going I'll venture our society ain't going to see 2050. *(For an eye witness appraisal of ocean health over the past half century look up some talks by marine biologist Jeremy Jackson. It ain't pretty and not for the faint of heart. About this Jeremy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Jackson_(scientist))
Some warn that “fake news" threatens the democratic process itself. “On page one of any political science textbook it will say that democracy relies on people being informed about the issues so they can have a debate and make a decision," says Stephan Lewandowsky, a cognitive scientist at the University of Bristol in the UK, who studies the persistence and spread of misinformation. “Having a large number of people in a society who are misinformed and have their own set of facts is absolutely devastating and extremely difficult to cope with." http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170301-lies-propaganda-and-fake-news-a-grand-challenge-of-our-age http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170228-a-guide-to-humanitys-greatest-challenges A thought-provoking article that reveals the abysmal standard of critical thinking in the general population, even among those once considered "educated"--and the danger of such a situation.
Disturbing but true. Regarding Lewandowsky, he knows how to ruffle feathers. But then studying "conspiratorial thinking" will bring out the worst in the conspiratorial-ists.
Climate denial linked to conspiratorial thinking in new study Recurrent Fury uncovers the difference between skepticism and conspiratorial denial Dana Nuccitelli Wednesday 8 July 2015 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2015/jul/08/climate-denial-linked-to-conspiratorial-thinking-in-new-study
Vol 3, No 1 (2015) > Lewandowsky Recurrent Fury: Conspiratorial Discourse in the Blogosphere Triggered by Research on the Role of Conspiracist Ideation in Climate Denial Stephan Lewandowsky, John Cook, Klaus Oberauer, Scott Brophy, Elisabeth A. Lloyd, Michael Marriott http://jspp.psychopen.eu/article/view/443 Abstract A growing body of evidence has implicated conspiracist ideation in the rejection of scientific propositions. Internet blogs in particular have become the staging ground for conspiracy theories that challenge the link between HIV and AIDS, the benefits of vaccinations, or the reality of climate change. A recent study involving visitors to climate blogs found that conspiracist ideation was associated with the rejection of climate science and other scientific propositions such as the link between lung cancer and smoking, and between HIV and AIDS. That article stimulated considerable discursive activity in the climate blogosphere—i.e., the numerous blogs dedicated to climate “skepticism"—that was critical of the study. The blogosphere discourse was ideally suited for analysis because its focus was clearly circumscribed, it had a well-defined onset, and it largely discontinued after several months. We identify and classify the hypotheses that questioned the validity of the paper’s conclusions using well-established criteria for conspiracist ideation. In two behavioral studies involving naive participants we show that those criteria and classifications were reconstructed in a blind test. Our findings extend a growing body of literature that has examined the important, but not always constructive, role of the blogosphere in public and scientific discourse. ...

It’s amazing that this game was made more than a decade ago…

It's amazing that this game was made more than a decade ago... [/img]
There's nothing amazing about that. The fact that you think it's amazing because it was made ten years ago is amazing. I'm guessing you're a teenager? Or possibly unfamiliar with modern literature and history?("modern" including anything back to the Civil War or so...) Incidentally that piece you pasted would itself fall under lies and propaganda..maybe even fake news. Certainly contextually it does. The context that you're using it with certainly qualifies it as such. Because what does it mean when someone posts literature from a video game and declares it amazing and prophetic? That piece is nothing but schlock.

I’m not saying it’s prophetic, that’s your assumption. The developer might get the idea from another source that I’m not familiar with.
But, at that time, how many people actually see that fake news would affect the world to this extent? I don’t even have Internet connection back then.

There’s nothing new about fake news or propaganda. I think lies have been around for quite awhile too.
So why is that video game literature so amazing to you?
Explain why that would be so amazing having come out 10 years ago.
That’s what you said. “It’s amazing that this came out 10 years ago.”
Incidentally most people would infer that you are implying some prophetic value there with that language.
All I see is you yourself contributing to the vast white noise machine with this video game crap.

But, at that time, how many people actually see that fake news would affect the world to this extent? .
Oh you mean way back in 2006? :lol: And to what extent is all of this having on the world? Go ahead...you got questions piling up if you care to answer them.

Earlier, the discussion about fake news and propaganda was mostly about government and corporate propaganda. To some extent, fake news might be spread by the government agency in the name of the nation interest. For example, to prevent panic.
But with the existent of social media, the nature of fake news has changed significantly. The government or mainstream media no longer have the monopoly when it comes to spreading propaganda and this has led to chaos because everyone can now choose their own bullshit. The social media also has contributed to radicalism by trapping the user with ‘filter bubble’. The user, now trapped the social bubble that continuously feed him/her with his/her own interest, are becoming more convince than ever of what he/she believe. How many people would actually have thought that by 2017 more people actually believe that the earth is flat than, let’s say, in 2007? No government would invent this kind of nonsense, because, to some extent, it has an interest to compete with other nation in term of scientific development.
I’m aware that the developer was most likely inspired by 1984, but that’s far before the Internet and mostly about propaganda by state controlled media. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not aware of discussion about the impact of social media on propaganda in the pop culture until very recently, because social media is also a recent invention.
But, whatever. You probably think its crap anyway since you seem to be the kind of person who think that everything that comes out of video games are crap anyway…

Earlier, the discussion about fake news and propaganda was mostly about government and corporate propaganda. To some extent, fake news might be spread by the government agency in the name of the nation interest. For example, to prevent panic.
Yes and lot's more things. It's always been that way. Ever since there was news. Justify wars, get people to save money, get people to spend money. Just about everything. Really when viewed objectively most of it seems rational and justified. Considering that's how things have always worked. Always! There's a place for idealistic criticism in society. It's just not a very meaningful place. It seems to be in direct conflict with actual human interests.
But with the existent of social media, the nature of fake news has changed significantly.
"Social media" being the internet and smart phones and Facebook and this forum etc etc etc.... Mainly the advent of the internet and related information channels. Yes the nature has changed. Mostly in proliferation. Just massive amounts more of the same old fake news and propaganda. And the nature of news has changed along with it. So called legitimate news and actual real news. Before we continue.... Lets not get bogged down in semantics. "News" is everything from what your neighbor yells across his driveway at you, to the most revered anchorman on at 7pm on a large broadcast TV station, to any newspaper, to a video of a cat with hammer hitting any given politician over the head with a hammer, to C-Span broadcasting actual political events in real time with no commentary. I think we can even blur the line between propaganda and "news" for the sake of this discussion. I mean if you know what real news is, and I know what real news is, then what is everything else? Well what if we don't agree on what "real news" is? But let's say we do.
The government or mainstream media no longer have the monopoly when it comes to spreading propaganda and this has led to chaos because everyone can now choose their own bullshit.
So....? What chaos? You still won't be able to truly explain how this is affecting society. You won't be able to show a net increase in supposed "social stupidity" or "uninformedness" or whatever. And that's the key!
How many people would actually have thought that by 2017 more people actually believe that the earth is flat than, let's say, in 2007?
You really have no way of knowing if this is true. Going by your own standards of filtering and your comments about social media and news, you have no way of knowing if more people actually think the world is flat. So I say you're falling victim to the very thing your complaining about.
As far as I'm concerned, I'm not aware of discussion about the impact of social media on propaganda in the pop culture until very recently, because social media is also a recent invention.
There's been discussions, they just aren't shown much sunlight. That would be bad for business. It's not just propaganda or news. It's advertising and marketing and social engineering on a grand scale.
Some warn that “fake news" threatens the democratic process itself. “On page one of any political science textbook it will say that democracy relies on people being informed about the issues so they can have a debate and make a decision," says Stephan Lewandowsky, a cognitive scientist at the University of Bristol in the UK, who studies the persistence and spread of misinformation. “Having a large number of people in a society who are misinformed and have their own set of facts is absolutely devastating and extremely difficult to cope with." .bbc.com/future/story/20170301-lies-propaganda-and-fake-news-a-grand-challenge-of-our-age A thought-provoking article that reveals the abysmal standard of critical thinking in the general population, even among those once considered "educated"--and the danger of such a situation.
It threatens far more than that, it threatens our very existence. Climate change denial is massively funded fake news and has resulted in a complete blockage of policy that is crucial to the survival of not just human civilization but humanity itself along with millions of other species that are now on their way to extinction. The same organizations that are behind climate change denial have been working for decades to gain control of all media in the interests of just a few people who are attempting to re-write human reality in their image. Reality is being remade in the image of Putin, the Koch brothers, Richard Mellon Scaife, the Coors and a few others. They don't give a damn about anything but themselves and couldn't care less if we're all killed as long as they are in control.

So why are most of us being lied to in such a systematic fashion?
The same reason this has been going on for millenia, to sell us garbage we don’t need to live.
Like religion…
Like war…
Like fossil fuels…
Like drugs that never do what is claimed, cost far more than it takes to produce them and often kill…
Like tobacco…
Like electronic devices that are then turned around to enslave us…
You name it, we’re being lied to constantly by the 21st. Century equivalent of snake oil salesmen and billions are buying it…

First V. gotta hand it to you, that was actually an interesting post, quite refreshing.
Doug - Here’s something to chew on. If you consider human history, it’s the same story over and over, - over expansion, over stressing natural systems available. Extermination of animals and to a lesser extent landscapes.
Then it was time for big portions of the population to peel off and find a new frontier to exploit.
But come the 20th century then those wonderful World Wars with all their fantastical technological advances shoved down our throats in a flash.
Not the least being Faber and his nitrogen fixing, which really ratcheted up the human population explosion, thanks to the green revolution.
Come the 60s, 70s and physical reality, that is the math of cumulating compounding numbers started soaking in - Smart people realized humanity was faced with a stark choice.
Slow down, less babies, less and more thoughtful consumption of oil and other resources - with attention paid to nurturing and sustainability.
This would buy humanity extra time to figure how to deal with diminishing resources.
But Mr Hollywood Reagan came along and said fuk that, let’s party and consume it all as fast as possible, there are no limits!!!
And America said YEAH!!! we’re with you.


Then regarding the mentality of these masters of universe. It was during our splendid profitable Shock’nAwe excursion, that I finally I realized how really soulless these masters of the universe were, they really and honesty couldn’t care less about all the carnage and horror they inflict, it did not matter one f’n bit. The carnage destruction doesn’t even register with them.
Where does that leave us today. The old get to count their lucky stars they experienced the good years and will check out before the true horrors arrive, and the young are left with no place to escape to.
As so it goes.
Hideous beyond description.
Funny when I was a kid, I watched The Time Machine and it caught my imagination wondering what humanity and the world would be like centuries down the line. What would it be like to be able to gaze over the full scope of the human adventure - what a thing that would be.
Now here I am a half century later knowing full well that I’m part of that select generation that can look back at the full panorama of the human adventure. From here on in, it will a world of ever more profound changes and none of them nice. I myself once actually thought we could have done much better. At least be so incredibly deluded about what we are doing to ourselves.

So why are most of us being lied to in such a systematic fashion? The same reason this has been going on for millenia, to sell us garbage we don't need to live. Like religion... Like war... Like fossil fuels... Like drugs that never do what is claimed, cost far more than it takes to produce them and often kill... Like tobacco... Like electronic devices that are then turned around to enslave us... You name it, we're being lied to constantly by the 21st. Century equivalent of snake oil salesmen and billions are buying it...
And now we have-so-called president who is a bigger snake oil salesman than anyone has ever seen before. And he surrounds himself with additional snake oil salesmen.
So why are most of us being lied to in such a systematic fashion? The same reason this has been going on for millenia, to sell us garbage we don't need to live. Like religion... Like war... Like fossil fuels... Like drugs that never do what is claimed, cost far more than it takes to produce them and often kill... Like tobacco... Like electronic devices that are then turned around to enslave us... You name it, we're being lied to constantly by the 21st. Century equivalent of snake oil salesmen and billions are buying it...
And now we have-so-called president who is a bigger snake oil salesman than anyone has ever seen before. And he surrounds himself with additional snake oil salesmen. Yes, certainly the biggest liar that has ever sat in the Oval Office, anything that comes out of the Trump White House is almost guaranteed to be a lie. Donald Trump tells the truth less than 5% of the time, only 1 out of 20 things he says is the unvarnished truth. http://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/

Bs, gotta love it. Rumor has it that donnie tRump want to establish a cabinet position called the Ministry of Propaganda to be headed by motor mouth Bannon. The new post will be named in honor of Joseph Goebbles.

Funny, I came to CFI to post a new topic about freedom of speech, but I think this thread is a more appropriate venue:
Do we in the U.S. still believe in unfettered freedom of speech? Before November of 2016 I would have replied with an unequivocal “Yes!” (Maybe with a proviso for yelling “fire!” in a theater.) But now we have a POTUS who lies habitually, maliciously, and a conservative outrage machine which both feeds on and creates irrational fears. With our republic in genuine danger thanks to a dangerously large and over-entitled minority that doesn’t seem to be getting any better at discerning these deliciously certain lies from the facts of a nuanced world, maybe we just can’t handle complete freedom from responsibility of both speaking and acting on lies.
Maybe Germany and certain other nations have the hard truth of it, maybe for the sake of the truth having any chance at all of shining through, we will ultimately have to legislate against brazen lies and hate speech – assuming that our democratic process survives long enough to do so. :frowning:

Watch Noam Chonsky’s Requiem for the American Dream, what’s happening now is the direct result of decades of what Adam Smith called the Masters of Mankind attacking democracy and the truth itself because they don’t want to lose their wealth, power and status.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zI_Ik7OppEI

More from Chomsky on how completely detached from reality the entire republican movement has become in the US.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2lsEVlqts0
It’s almost entirely based on lies, there’s a reason that serial liar Trump found such support from the republicans, they already live in a fantasy land.