Monthly Archives: December 2016

Fake News or the Gamification of Politics

Let’s begin by admitting that news has always been fake. There is no media product that is not filtered, framed, and formatted. Filtered means that always some information is selected and other information overlooked. Framed means that the information selected out of all possible information is put into some kind of interpretive frame that describes what is going on. The frame decides whether we are dealing with an accident, an act of terrorism, a prank, or an advertising campaign. Formatted means that selected and framed information is always presented in a certain way, as image, text, video, audio, etc., all of which have their own rules of production, distribution, and consumption. These three “F”s create a gap between what “really” happened and what the media tell us happened. This is a fact. It remains a fact even when professional journalists are replaced by citizen journalists who upload their spontaneous and accidental photos, videos, and comments onto platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc. So what do we do about it? Up until the advent of “post-truth” politics and “fake news” – formerly known as propaganda – there was apparently no pressing need to do anything about it. The experts, authorities, gatekeepers, and institutions of knowledge and truth were solidly in place and functioned quite well. We could tell the difference between the New York Times and Gawker and there really was a difference to tell. Although we knew that the media didn’t give us the truth, at least what we got was good enough to make reasonable decisions and get along with our neighbors. This is no longer the case.

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