The problem with fake news

Post date: Mar 03, 2017 7:30:49 AM

Walter Kirn, Q&A after Jim Rogers Contrarian Lecture, Black Mountain Institute at UNLV, 02/23/17

Fake news isn't just something that has the wrong information or is poor reporting. Instead, it is entirely made up. Fake news exposes the structure of the thing it satirizes, the exaggerations that go into headline-making in general. I'm also not sure that anybody has trouble distinguishing what's fake news. I think we read it often because it's fun.

Here's a problem with fake news. It started as a vehicle for injuring Hilary Clinton and helping Donald Trump and a lot of it came from foreign places or the fever swamp of the alt right. But Donald Trump turned the tables recently and started calling major organizations like CNN and the New York Times fake news, so now it's a right wing attack concept and what each side calls the other's stories.

Both sides belief the other side is lying and we can't agree on reality itself—maybe they never agreed. My fear is that anger and suspicion and distrust grow to the point where violence follows. Propaganda usually precedes violence. It's a way to soften up people to do things they wouldn't do before.

The economics of media no longer encourage on-scene reporting. Stories about comments on Twitter costs a network exactly nothing. Commenting, pitching attitude don't constitute reporting. It's a form of spitball throwing. I wish the places that have the resources dig a bit deeper, look longer at their subjects, and try to produce more content instead of waking us every day with outrage.