What is Fake News?
You may say “there is too much media and I’m suffering from information overload!”
But… is this a true statement? I am not sure… Certainly, that statement identifies a major problem, but does it offer the correct analysis?
Information overload is an oversimplification, I think that the problem comes down to a much more nuanced situation and that is understanding how we approach and digest the information that we are continuously exposed to. How do we come to narrow our scope to understand the message in the information? How do we extrapolate the most important thesis from each argument we come across?
FAKE NEW ON THE INTERNET
In the age of the internet this problem becomes even more pernicious. Why? Because the internet offers a level playing field for all media. Consider YouTube for a moment, everyone with a YouTube account can compete for your attention, whether they are big players like CNN, RT, BBC etc. or a little guy like the Tangent General. Now there are algorithms to assist us to categorize the information that’s on offer, but they don’t really solve the root of the problem, simply give us a filter to minimize the experience of the symptoms. Instead what we need is an internal program that allows us to see the information for what it is. Just like having the ability to see the edges of each puzzle piece on a completed puzzle.
Currently there is a battle going on. The battle is between those who want to control the distribution of information and media to shape and ultimately direct the flow of public consent. Prior to the invention of the printing press this was achieved through the preachers in the churches limiting the availability of the bible to their congregations. Once the printing press emerged though things changed rapidly and it took a long time to reach a new equilibrium. One of the major consequences of the printing press was of course a religious revolution that birthed Protestantism. Rightly or wrongly this change has impacted society with a schism that can never be fully reunited. Many have said the internet has had the same impact upon the social world, and perhaps the next big institution to suffer will be the university.
The university has until now been the ivory tower – the castle that contains and guards the knowledge about our world. To engage with the knowledge it has to be on their terms, both in regard to financial governance (think student loans, scholarships etc.) and more importantly cognition governance. However, this is all changing rapidly. Not only can everyone access the course of their choosing online, with many institutions such as Standford uploading their material free of charge, but the grip on cognition is necessarily loosening as a result. This is not necessarily all to the benefit of us “the people”.
One of the blessings of cognitive governance is that we would not risk becoming drawn into sloppy or loose argumentation and that in fact we stood before the Giants in each field and worked to get into a position such that we could stand upon their shoulders.
A SUDDEN SHIFT?
This sudden shift that the internet has slowly been administering over the past 25 years is coming to a head. Like a rubber band that has been stretched too far it’s about to collapse back upon itself and we are going to face an interesting decade or so. No longer can we, in good faith and conscious, delegate our responsibility of cognitive governance to the university, to the anchor on the nightly news, to the editor of the major newspaper. Now we are confronted with a panoramic view on each and every issue, we are exposed to extreme bias from radical propagandists, we are in a knowledge free for all with limited allies to support us. On the one hand we can learn amazing things about history, geography and society that was largely inaccessible before.
On the other hand we are constantly bombarded with messages of fear and terror. Major platforms have emerged from the need to have accurately knowledge about the world, personalities have risen to guide us back to the promised land of simplified knowledge dissemination. Yet, just like the protestant schism, the internet schism cannot be breached. Those of us who have found ourselves on the other side of the gap simply cannot and probably will not go back.
Was JFK FAKE NEWS
There are groups out there who will never be convinced that Al Qaeda was responsible for 9/11, or that JFK was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald. You may label these people with the pejorative “conspiracy theorist” and that is reasonable from your side of the growing chasm. But now there is a breach in the social contract and you will never agree with the other side on these issues. One side is labelled crazy the other naive. Fighting words for sure. So what do we do?
I propose that we engage in a system of thought that Jan Irvin, Richard Grove, Gene Odening, Kevin Cole and many others have done a masterful job in outlining and bringing to the public attention. I propose that we study something called the Trivium Method of Education and that we learn to understand Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric. I will have much more to say on this as my website grows and matures, but for now I offer this:
WHATS THE ANTIDOTE FOR FAKE NEWS
THE TRIVIUM IS THE ANTIDOTE TO FAKE NEWS
Cognitive Governance is now your own personal responsibility and you now need to take very seriously the ability to learn how to learn. Keep in mind that Alvin Tofler the famous futurist proscribed illiteracy in the 21st century as the inability to learn, unlearn and relearn!