Wednesday, 9 May 2018

A matter of trust

The whole idea of fake news and alternative facts is coming round to haunt the very notion of news and truth. While some blame it on the proliferation of social media and communication channels, others to the failure of authority to be true to their call for universal representation and fairplay.  Some blame it on our own long standing demand for authenticity, transparency and freedom.  Some blame it on postmodern thinkers who ushered in this sort of 'fringe-thinking'. 

Mere pieces of information without any perspective is not news.  And there is no news that is not biased or 'from a particular angle'.  And even if one has merely pieces of information, but no context or plan or perspective, they are all useless entities.  Just like lego pieces to a rat.  A cat may atleast play with them. A dog may perhaps chew them.  Even a child who has no clue of what they are, or never seen them before, will merely use them for throwing around.  No such child in the first instance is going to build a house or plane with them! 

The call for transparency, authenticity, accountability cannot be blamed for generating conflict and confusion.  The plethora of social media cannot be blamed for generating stuff.  (The fault of fake news is not the crime of the media but of individuals lacking accountability and authenticity.)  The worth and value of social media arose for lack of credibility of erstwhile institutions which were once held in esteem for being authentic.  Institutions like the leading newspapers, court judges, experienced academia, religious authorities.... Social media needs to keep these on their toes, not usurp their roles.  When these established institutions continue to repeatedly fail to live up to the trust people have in them, the general population is left at the mercy of any and every media.  Authority is so distributed that everyone believes everyone or no one believes anyone (both the same!). 

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