4 Replies to “Who checks the ‘fact checkers’?

  1. My conclusion is that the moment anyone presents themselves as a “fact checker” or a “guide to fake news” then they ARE fake news. It is amusing to note that the BBC have now got a proudly displayed “Reality Check team”. The very fact they are doing this raises some amusing questions. Weren’t they always supposed to be a “reality check” anyway? It was automatically assumed – and implied in the very title – that a “News Channel” would give you news. Why would they have to reassure you that they are giving you “REAL News”?

    The comedy becomes more acute when you see a recent BBC article from this “Reality Check team” which is titled “Biden on Afghanistan fact-checked”. Are we to believe that the American establishment is completely separate from the British one and that the latter has a news team that can act with complete autonomy with regard to the former?

    • It’s a win-win for the propagandists of empire. People may sense they are being lied to, but what then? Remember the tobacco lobby’s tactics? It saw that it need not disprove the overwhelming evidence against its products; simply muddy the waters with help from a pet maverick scientist or two. Upshot? People with busy lives threw their hands in the air and declared, “this is all impossible: who knows what’s true?”

      … think I’ll just go back to sleep … zzzzzz

  2. I have been musing on how, under capitalism, advances in technology are fuelled by the constant demand to maximise profits to overtake the competition and how part of this operation consists of opportunistic seizures to restructure social relations – one obvious example being the Wapping dispute where new printing technology made it possible to side-line the old unions and permit management to dictate new conditions favourable to them and unfavourable to the work force.

    We are living through times of extraordinary change re: the media and therefore of how information is distributed. This has both a progressive and regressive aspect: the old mainstream centralised channels can be bypassed but at the same time, information now has a new fragile volatility which may open up possibilities for data swathes to be erased in a Stalinist type cyber purge.

    The recent phenomenon of “cancel culture” seems to signal a new form of ostracism. I already see headlines that would seem to dispute “cancelling” Bob Dylan which would seem to point towards some kind of “cyber erasure”. It’s curious how these headlines seem to be on Dylan’s side for the moment. The Scottish Herald’s Mark Eadie has just peened a piece called “Tangled up in blue… why I just couldn’t cancel Bob Dylan”. I have been surfing round the net for two decades now and I have noticed how the media can work in very sly and underhanded ways in which a proposal seems to be rejected … and yet the very fact the proposal is voiced at all indicates a kind of reverse psychology. The seed has been laid.
    And other channels are indulging in a kind of cyber lynching where the call is for the new generation to “decide” on who is worthy of posterity and who isn’t.

    On a possibly more modest level, I recall borrowing vinyl albums out my local library at a time when there was a huge classical collection and I was just starting to investigate this field. When the music section was updated to CD, there as a purge on the old stuff which changed the entire genre configuration effectively assigning the classical stuff to oblivion. Yet another drop in the ocean of voracious change brought on by the ceaseless drive towards technological advance – and the annulling of previous stocks of knowledge and art.

    And then there is the matter of Amazon’s interesting decision to erase all the comments added to customer reviews, thereby annihilating a network of customer interchange. Indeed – this has abolished burgeoning communities. Once again, social and economic structures are shaped in accordance with the demands of capital.

    • social and economic structures are shaped in accordance with the demands of capital.

      Indeed. And because, as Slavoj Žižek has said, it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism, this appears quite natural.

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