The Fake News Cure

Fake news are an important topic right now. The Digital Freedom Festival 2016 in Riga considered it so, I am told by heise.de

Of course fake news are only news because recently they were the wrong kind of fake.

Ironically, it is probably even fake news that Donald Trump won the election because of fake news. But I understand that it is a very reassuring thought for the alleged elite that a bunch of simple-minded rednecks were duped into voting for him. Because the alternative would be admitting that they figured out the fake news thing first.

if you don’t fit within a very narrow range of allowable opinion, either falling off the left edge or the right edge, you’re either a paid Russian troll or else you’re being “manipulated” by forces you don’t understand and don’t want to understand.
Justin Raimondo in The Witch Hunters

But looking at what caused the current debate is pointless. Fake news have been documented since the destruction of Sennacherib – a battle that both parties claim to have won, and that was immortalized by Lord Byron in one of my favourite poems (who, a true poet, favoured the less probable side as winners) [footnote]The kingdom of Judah went to great lengths to claim its victory, the Assyrians simply noted the tribute taken in their book keeping – I know which of the two behaviours I trust more.[/footnote].

And the solution to fake news is not improved e-governance, as a former propagandist for Radio Free Europe explains at an e-governance event masquerading as festival for digital freedom. The solution is a critical mind and a broad choice of news sources. One of those simple-but-not-easy solutions.

Propaganda is to democracy what the bludgeon is to the totalitarian state.
Noam Chomsky, self-made propagandist

I don’t know about you, but my daily international news feed currently includes both Fox and MSNBC, the BBC, Al Jazeerah and Russia Today. It used to include Haaretz, but they hide behind a paywall nowadays and I am still looking for a well-written Chinese perspective.

If one of those sources offends you, I got bad news for you: Not for being easily offended by a news source, but because the others should do so similarly. Everyone lies. Everyone has an agenda. It is up to you to recognize and understand it.