Archive for the ‘ELON MUSK AS P T BARNUM TYPE’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ON TRUTH AND OUR PRESS AND MEDIA – THE NEW AND PRETENTIOUS NONSENSE OF FACT-CHECKING BY THE SAME PRESS AND MEDIA – ONLY WAY TO GET SOME TRUTH   4 comments

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY CHARLES BAUSMAN IN RUSSIA INSIDER

 

“Dear Elon [Musk], We Can Build a Media Fact-Check Machine for You – We’ve Got the Know-How'”

 

Dear RI Editor, The Very Idea of Fact-Check Machines is Absurd – No Matter Who Builds Them.

No one has both the command of quality information and the impartiality of viewpoint even to attempt this.

The very concept is an illegitimate child of the “fake news” phenomenon.

We’ve always had facts and errors and deliberate propaganda mixed into our news since the first newspaper was printed. It has always been the job of readers to sort things out for themselves. No one can do that for them.

Readers must read and cross-check and critically compare while taking account of the likely motives of each source if they want to be at all informed. It’s a bit like writing an academic paper, you cannot take one source as authority, but it is a bit more complicated than academic papers because with the news we have the undeniable presence of deliberate lies and propaganda, perhaps more so today because there are so very many dark projects being carried on by major actors, projects they do not want others to understand. Some part of “the truth” can be teased out with effort, but even then, no claim can be made to complete accuracy.

The only solid truth we have is science, but science doesn’t deal with the dark labyrinths of human affairs and politics.

What we call “truth” in journalism and politics is something altogether different. It’s about trying to have a rough working knowledge or perspective about some event. Unfortunately, these are generally the kinds of event – affairs of state and foreign policy and wars – where everyone reporting on them is either reluctant to tell you what they know or is actively interested in hiding at least part of what happened or simply doesn’t know anything but doesn’t want to admit the fact.

There is no magic formula anyone can offer for this kind of truth. You can’t run laboratory experiments, repeating them many times, as you would in hard science.

The very idea of “truth checks” or “truth machines” reminds me strongly of the Millennial generation’s constant flow of fads, as with the new best vitamin supplement, the new best herbal preparation, or the new best yoga routine – unscientific nonsense almost all of it or, at best, tidbits of scientific findings stretched beyond their supportable limits, but if you enjoy indulging in it as a pastime, go ahead.

Public affairs though have much greater consequences – including a great deal of death and destruction as well as the spending of vast amounts of money – than whether someone happens “to get it wrong” about a vitamin supplement. So, a conscientious citizen’s making an effort to understand is important.

As soon as Musk announced his “media truth” idea, he went further down in my estimation – further, that is, than the P. T. Barnum- style self-promoter that he indeed is – down there to the lower regions along with the likes of Zuckerberg, the CIA, the Pentagon, the Washington Post, and spokespeople for the State Department and NATO, and the whole shady gang pretending to hand us truth as though it were a plum on a platter.