REAL WARS, BIAS REPORTING, AND FAKE NEWS
“Fake news” was not a term many people used four years ago, but it is now seen as one of the greatest threats to democracy, free debate, and the Western order, says James Carson from the Daily Telegraph in his article published on 9 September 2019.
“The first article – designed to inform – receives limited attention. The second article – designed for vitality – accumulates shares. It exploits the way your brain processes new information, and the way social media decides what to show you. It percolates across the internet, spreading misinformation,” says the article on British Council’s website.
The headline is “Imagine this: two news articles are shared simultaneously online.” It presents an article that “is a deeply reported and thoroughly fact-checked story from a credible newsgathering organization – perhaps
Le Monde, The Wall Street Journal, or Süddeutsche Zeitung,” and continues to compare it with, “The second is a false or misleading story. But the article is designed to mimic content from a credible newsroom, from its headline to the way in which it has been shared.”
“How do the two articles fare?” is the question posed.
It would be easy perhaps if it were only two articles and not hundreds of them with a whirlwind of tweets and other social media frenzy adorned with altered photographs or even original video footage used in the desired context. Militaries fight wars not only on the ground but also in a variety of planes such as social media, interviews on news
and other media outlets.
Following developments in Syria through all available means and media, this humble author with over twenty years of field experience especially in the southeast of Turkey, Iraq, and Syria, came across so many visuals, reports and statements from a variety of sources with quite spectacular creativity that I have started to doubt what I knew to
be facts, to the extent that when I saw some photographs of locations I know very well and read the related reporting I was astounded.
We have become used to pretenses, U-turns, and bigotry of politicians in domestic affairs and in their façade wars; however, it is frightening to witness the same in international conflicts and especially when it is at the cost of innocent lives.
In addition, reporters, journalists and even scholars taking sides based on fake news are astonishing. They could be excused for being misled or misinformed, but is it not the role and responsibility of these learned few to inform the unaware many? Yes, it is a naïve and rhetorical question. Allow me to ask another. When will the hypocrisy and mass
manipulation through disinformation end? Is this the world that we want to live in and raise our children?
We teach our children to be true and upright, we teach them dignity and honesty. Then we let them loose in a world of lies and deceit. Naïve? Yes. Untrue? I don’t think so.
2019 Centre for International Governance Innovation and Ipsos’ Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust available on their website
. gives us an insight into internet security and trust. It does not look promising.