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Fake News and Propaganda

FAKE: to practise deception by giving a false indication or appearance of something.
PROPAGANDA: the systematic widespread promotion of a certain set of ideas, doctrines or values.

Fake news isn’t something new. Fake news has always been at the heart of propaganda. If you tell a lie often enough, it becomes real, was Goebbels’ (the Nazi Propaganda Minister) catchcry. In order to create the climate for the extermination of Jews, Gypsies, political opponents, the disabled and homosexuals, the Nazi propaganda machine relied on the production of fake news on a grand scale. The difference between an old fashioned totalitarian state that had total control over the dissemination, creation and production of news in the 20th century and fake news in the 21st century is the widespread use of the world wide web. The web has allowed state and non state actors to further a particular point of view – propaganda. You repeat fake news often enough it soon becomes the new reality.

The world wide web, an instrument that was initially created as a democratising force is slowly and surely becoming an instrument of state and corporate control. More and more sophisticated computer algorithms has made it easier and easier to collect enormous amounts of data on individuals, groups and regions. Traditionally this data has been used to lighten our wallets. If the information that has been collected about you indicates you are looking for particular goods or services it won’t be long before you're bombarded by advertisements specifically tailored for little old you.

The same strategy is now being used by political groups as diverse as Islamic State and President Donald Groper’s well oiled political machine to bombard likely supporters with created news to reinforce particular opinions. What was initially a democratising force is rapidly becoming an instrument of coercion. In the “good old days” (they never existed) induction into a politically motivated group or movement was based on the one to one “bliss bomb” approach. It took a lot of one to one work to get people involved.

Today “bliss bombing” is conducted by machines that have been programmed to detect our political peccadilloes and channel us towards a particular minder. Machines that have been programmed to detect a particular weakness or viewpoint are very, very good at creating a birth to death sea of fake news to draw you into the net. Human minders you never see then finish off the job. Fake news is first and foremost propaganda. It is designed to draw you into the arms of political, social and cultural movements that only promote a particular set of values or viewpoints. Whether the information provided is real or not is irrelevant. What’s relevant is whether you have been pushed along into a specific political, intellectual or emotional corral you can't escape from unless you start thinking for yourself and check and countercheck what you have taken for granted for so long.