It’s pervasive. When an opposite view from their own is pronounced there’s going to be some git who immediately dubs it “fake news.”
Not that there isn’t propaganda out there put out as news. There is and it should be labeled as such. But that doesn’t seem to be the trend, especially amongst the populists. If data or information dispels one of their cherished childish myths, or if it’s knowledge they are not familiar with then, well, you know.
This has got to stop. Why? Because when we automatically discount opposing viewpoints we shut ourselves off from the motives and operations of the opposition and we occasionally may miss the opportunity to learn something. Not to mention the practice leads to confirmation bias, a malady that kills critical thinking.
Example: I am not a fan of CNN and MSNBC. They are leftists and I’m a conservative. Granted, we both seem to share a loathing of populists. But I would have no idea how to counter their message if I didn’t listen to it in the first place. So as when I was in Army Intelligence in the 80s and read as much Soviet material as I could, I now force myself to regularly watch both CNN and MSNBC. Not a lot, mind you. But enough to learn what they’re up to. Okay, I try to limit their screen time to when the host is an attractive female. Then I can just chalk the inane chatter up to a cute but dumb girl, a particular weakness of mine. However, I digress.
Labeling anything that goes against your ideology fake news can also lead to the slippery slope of wanting to ban it. No? Read the comment section of any article where people disagree with the premise or data offered by the author. Left or populist, the MENSA members who gift us with their commentary on the piece will consistently call for the author and their ilk to be silenced. Don’t believe me? Read the comment section of this piece after a day or so. Dollars to doughnuts I’m Satan and thus should be kept quiet for the good of the republic.
If it’s the Left doing the hit I’m a racist sexist oppressor of the plebs. If it’s the populists then I’m an out of touch toff, if only, who will take away their fantasies and mirages because I dare to think for myself and not worship a demagogue. More than disdained by both, thought enough of a threat to be silenced by some.
And there’s the rub. You can’t have freedom of speech without the freedom to produce fake speech. Because one man’s fake news is another’s holy writ. Thus the answer is to let news be news and stop automatically discounting it only because you don’t agree. If it gets to you that much, then just stop watching the source. Except for me. I have to watch it. It’s my job.