Friday, December 16, 2016
HOW SHOULD I KNOW? JUST MAKE SOMETHING UP.
I've been obsessed with the story of "fake news"- the actual made-up-of-whole-cloth stuff that dominated Facebook and Twitter during this election season.
But perhaps even worse has been the stilted corporate press coverage of this supposed "Russian hacking the elections" story which, while not actually counterfeit has been presented as factual despite the fact that it is almost almost 100% conjecture without any real evidence produced by the so-called US "intelligence community."
I've spent weeks trying to blow a hole in reactions to- to re-coin a term- "faux-info" by, shall we say, the less astute among us who have been insisting that it's the traditional media that's "the real fake news." And that's led to a dispute about the very definition of fake news.
But after watching the morning news I feel like giving up.
First up on CBS' a.m. news today was the pounding of the Russian hacking story with pronouncements of various degrees of evidence-free, speculative certitude. The use of the terms "possible," "maybe," and other such qualifiers is routinely and progressively abandoned by each successive pontificating pundit and definitive statements about what one partisan or another is saying about the matter becoming more important that any actual evidence for it.
The next story was Facebook's promise to rid peoples' "newsfeeds" of "fake" or completely fabricated news while remaining an information distributor instead of a media company (a very important legal distinction) by using some convoluted filter through which other media outlets will tag these kinds of posts without much attention to the issue of what is fake and what is just opinionated or slanted.
"What is reality?" we ask. The question of who can we we trust seems to have become more important that what.
So after varying degrees of fakeness we got to the third story this morning- the cold weather.
Ah... time for some accurate- if useless to us in Hawai`i- non-fake, accuracy.
And there stood the weather guy in front of his map of the continental US with what appeared to be the latest measurable numbers- the temperatures from around the nation. Can't fake that- the mercury (or at least your iPhone) never lies.
But there, on the top of the map, are the words telling us that these are simply "Feels Like" temperatures- not the actual thermometer readings but something someone made up to tell us, as the overly-sensationalized, mainstream media is wont to do, it's worse than it actually is.
Yes- that's right- IT'S THE FAKE WEATHER.
What's next? "This snow is so deep that, even though it's six inches, when you step in it it "feels like" it's a foot deep."
Wait- what? Did I hear right?: "Alien Dolphins Have Taken Over Congress." Film at 10.