FAKE NEWS
Posted on April 28th, 2019

Priyantha Hettige

False propaganda (lies) – Fake news is a good way to destroy your competitors or even your enemies. It is unbelievably effective -and its use is as old as the hills.

·        Speaking the truth is the mark of a good person, a reliable person; civilization is built on such people, not on liars, cheats nor robbers.

·        People are strongly influenced by those they respect, including the news on T.V. and the newspapers, but such sources can occasionally give us stories that are unchecked and from unnamed sources – even false news.

·        Normal people are easily misled by believable, plausible stories – false news. This innocence can be used by unscrupulous people; politicians, journalists, activists, or by anyone with a grudge, to set in motion hostile forces, unleash the power of the press in a war against something or someone, as follows:

Fake news has recently risen to become a major matter of concern in the west,” and to a lesser extent, all around the world.

The election in 2016 of Donald Trump, a rich businessman, as President of the United States of America, has caused U.S politicians, bureaucrats and media to all take part in a tremendous campaign of lies against him, firstly, to prevent him winning the presidential election and then, to get him impeached (out of office), when finally elected President.

This vast campaign was headed by politicians, (helped by the FBI and DOJ) who launched a barrage of lies and false information in the press, on TV. and by using the internet, for the purpose of taking down the President – an immoral and illegal coup attempt! The use of the media and internet for spreading Fake, harmful news was a great help to them.

The Nature of the Media and the Internet

The arrival on the Internet of social platforms like Facebook, Buzzfeed and  Twitter have opened the way for massive false information campaigns, e.g., scare stories about the Mayan calendar and the end of the world, the arrival of planet Nibiru, never ending global warming, etc., gloom and doom spreading through vast numbers of people around the world. Great fortunes have been amassed but on the other hand, lives ruined or even lost. In general, fake news is destructive and not good.

Consequently, the general population has become misguided, misinformed or not informed at all. Our understanding is corrupted by this FAKE, false news.

Also importantly, our trust in the news and TV – especially the western media, has taken a nose dive and journalism as a whole has become mistrusted as a result.

Because of all this, there has been great activity to understand this phenomenon better and establish why it has become so widespread. It can be divided into:

1.      Mis-information: false information disseminated without harmful intent.

  1. Dis-information: created and shared by people with harmful intent.
  2. Mal-information: the sharing of “genuine” information with the intent to cause harm.[33]

Claire Wardle of First Draft News identifies seven types of fake news:[26]

  1. satire or parody (“no intention to cause harm but has potential to fool”)
  2. false connection (“when headlines, visuals or captions don’t support the content”)
  3. misleading content (“misleading use of information to frame an issue or an individual”)
  4. false context (“when genuine content is shared with false contextual information”)
  5. impostor content (“when genuine sources are impersonated” with false, made-up sources)
  6. manipulated content (“when genuine information or imagery is manipulated to deceive”, as with a “doctored” photo)
  7. fabricated content (“new content is 100% false, designed to deceive and do harm”)

Internet social media has brought social benefits: good connectivity and entertainment, but it has also enhanced humanity’s ability to create dissention, conflict and destroy competition and even enemies – and anyone else in the way! 

Social media is a boon, a gift from heaven for politicians, bureaucrats and those with a grudge. It can be, and IS used to spread Fake news. Chief culprits in this flood of disinformation can be both powerful politicians and government bureaucratic officials who want to hold on to their power. These people lust for more power, independence and lack of scrutiny – haven’t you noticed?  – and those in supporting roles like the newspapers and TV shows, increasingly take sides in politician’s propaganda wars.

Usually, political ruling elites like to keep their citizenry in the dark on a matter, if possible. Having a business controlled news media, sympathetic to their politics, is very helpful! This gives them a free hand to do as they please, with no press watch dog to expose their mistakes and even wrong-doing. They are free to issue untruthful or misleading press statements which their friends will dutifully publish or use in discussions to keep the public mis-guided and mis-informed!

They live in their own world of cocktail and dinner parties, a tight social circle: elite bureaucrats, remote from the ordinary man. They like to take decisions themselves, and they resent supervision of their power. Old fashioned journalism is dead in the West.”

Other, doubtful, shady people are also writing this Fake News for a living, and the main TV stations can slip us distortions between true items; inventions and plain old lies. Not on everything – but on certain sensitive, opinion making subjects.  In the past, crowds have run riot and killed on just a rumor.

We do not know it is nonsense until (if ever!) we are told the truth of a matter.                                                   When we find out the truth, we are upset and even angry as we don’t like to be manipulated; perhaps even fooled into voting the wrong way. But yes, manipulation, stirring up negative emotions, is what they are doing, as politics or for profit, to sell a good story.

Advertising Revenue

In addition to these propaganda wars in the western corporate media, must be added the pressure for business revenues – income accrued from having a large number of followers. The fact is, manipulating public opinion – fooling us with lies, and/or attractive stories, can also be profitable. It is also helping drive this problem – the need to maximize financial revenues is also a factor in this blossoming of Fake news. Such news has become entertainment – comic stories that we can enjoy!

Researchers have written books on how people can be manipulated by the power of marketing and advertising on TV.  Governments in power use it to move their voters!  Yes, we can be corrupted – due to our natural biases and/or our ignorance of the facts!! 

The TV news networks are busy advertising consumer products but they do not give us the accurate or useful news we really want and need. We all know about famous manufactured products advertised on TV – just business! But Earthquakes and Volcano events are increasing around the world! What was the cause of the Great Flood? Scientists are figuring out the truth!

Result

Independent journalists, who search out and publicize, accurate, well checked stories, or anyone else with a good story, cannot easily get into print. Journalists critical of the Fake news lose their jobs – Out! Dismissed! Journalism and the mainstream media outlets are a closed shop and are failing the public hard when they print false information, untruthful journalism, or by not telling us useful information as it arises.

The established media in the west” are being discredited and readership is declining. Good quality journalism is suffering, and wounded. People want truthful news, balanced reporting, and anything less is a waste of time and money.

Remedy

The Internet can also help here. Now, there are some new, alternative news outlets on You Tube, which give wider, more reliable news coverage. But, as startups they have less power to investigate a story.

Alternative news outlets, for example the hugely successful RT Cross Talk, who discuss an issue with a small panel of experts, The Duran, Breitbart news and ‘Democracy Now,’ a report on the daily news, not to forget Al Jazeera.

Some Explanation of this Modern Phenomena

Educated people, cultured people talk about ideas, causes and effects. But simple, uneducated people talk about…  er…  other people!  

The media and politicians exploit the weaknesses of simple people to the full – they feed their prejudices about something or somebody, often, politically, as in the case of President Donald Trump, but educated, thinking people are troubled, and want the whole truth! 

It results in ignoring the real evidence and falsely, taking sides on a matter, by having a campaign on, or against soemthing or someone. This attracts advertising revenues from businessmen who agree with and support the same political parties or issues.

Some leading newspapers, made famous for their quality reporting of the news and facts in the past, such as The Times of London, The New York Times, or The Washington Post, and TV stations, like CNN, (all members of the Corporate Media) have now become willing mouthpieces for a particular narrative –  a particular bias in reporting on a story!  But this has cost them dear in terms of credibility. Fake news journalists will never publish something to the opposition’s advantage.

This divide between fair reporting and bias can be purely political: socialism versus capitalism, but now, more likely, it is the ruling classes, the ruling elite – overblown in terms of power and regulations, versus the citizenry as a whole, along with all the many other issues that divide public debate.

Sanjana Hattotuwa, writing in the Sunday Island of April 14th 2019, exposes false information and manipulation. He writes: ”The lie is revealed. No summons served” end quote. (on Gotabaya for certain allegations.)  He writes: news that GR was being sued in the US is false and incorrect.”

Hiding News and Information

Some important information is ignored entirely by the press as they pursue their own agendas of Fake news. (E.g., Russia is developing hypersonic weapons; China is developing Electro-Magnetic Pulse bombs to blackout our cities; food shortages.) There is much information to know about. But: We don’t know what we don’t know but should know,” – we are in the dark on so many things!

There are some important news to be had. There is an awesome responsibility to convey it. The North and South poles of our planet may soon exchange positions! Scientists are watching with great interest! The sun may stand still for a day! The oceans may surge forward as they have done many times before… but this important news is absent! And it has consequences. We should prepare!

The Buddha said :

Ignorance is the longest night.”

Venerable Piyadassi, in his book Buddhist Meditation” said:

Ignorance is the highest corruption.”

Fake news has arisen, mainly in the ”west,” even before the arrival of President Trump on the scene, but it has ballooned and got a lot more vicious since he took power. And it has reached here in some newspaper centre-page articles. These are journalists who have swallowed the bait of a ‘good’ fake news story, hook line and sinker!

The Discipline of Good Journalism

Many journalists, just sit in their offices at computers to write their stories, but the best journalists go out searching for truth. They wear out their shoes searching for truth by visiting places and checking with those people involved for information on what really happened. They quote real sources for their stories, not claim it was from unnamed sources. They do not use the misguiding stories put out by those in authority. Good journalism!

Also, everything we read and learn about, has to be written or spoken by someone; a journalist or someone in government. People write from ideas arising due to their personal thoughts, memory and emotional style about a topic. It results in news stories or information having a level of descriptive language matching the writer’s own feelings and powers of self-expression. It is quite difficult to write without personal bias or extra colour, but the best journalists are trained to do it.

However, it is always tempting to follow a political position, or make a story more interesting or shocking, in order to have more impact on the reader or listener – a form of creative writing. Unhappily for those in search of truth, such undisciplined writers are praised and well-paid for attractive stories!

Fake News – mostly in the West”

Throughout the ages, people have distorted and made up stories to hurt someone else. But now, with the power of the big media and social media companies, it has become a crisis. However, by going to the Internet, people can search and find alternative media websites and documents for more accurate news about what they should know about this world, past, present and future.

One Response to “FAKE NEWS”

  1. Christie Says:

    The dead locals are Sinhalese Christians and Muslims both religions Hinduthwa wants out of India and its neighbors.

    India knew the locations and even the names of the bombers and they had a local group in South India of the same names.

    It is Tirupati that spared the Taj hotel? I am sure Sirisena prayed for it!

    Taj is always frequented by our king makers like Chandrika, Atul Keshap’ of the days gone by,Mr. Singh; local Indians and Indian from overseas.

    Taj is part of TATA and our tea is next on the line with Tetley’s.

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