This article from Breitbart is both hilarious and simultaneously depressing. It is the stuff that caused Gina Miller to receive death threats and a quick read of the comments shows that there is a willing public ready to consume such garbage and make all kinds of random leaps of faith based on limited information. Part of the problem is that we are now “drowning in data” rather than “swimming with information” – an issue I am presently writing about for my latest book. In a world of information overload there can be a tendency to simply accept headlines at face value, especially for time deprived people or those of lower general intelligence. Breitbart’s headline also distorts the truth, where “emotional blackmail” has been substituted for the actual idea, which asks young people to speak with their grandparents, who, after all have the balance of power in the relationship, as some of the comments to the article suggest. It is a pure distortion of the story to suggest that young people are blackmailing their grandparents. Worse still it promotes the kind of hate that leads to more radical action. I believe in a free press, but freedom comes with responsibilities.
Our journalists devalue the currency of the truth with such tactics. It does nothing to improve respect for the press. What exactly is wrong with asking young people to speak with their grandparents about values and beliefs? What are Breitbart afraid of? Why are they saying this?
My own sister consumes much of this garbage via the Daily Mail. Her husband told me that we must leave the EU because “there were two million rapists waiting to come to England from Berlin, sponsored by Angela Merkel”. I could not really believe what I was hearing at Sunday tea over the Battenberg cake (damn German name for an English cake of course – presumably also the EU’s fault !! 🙂
Trump, Brexit … we need a new world order. Undoubtedly there is massive dissatisfaction with our politics around the world, but our knee jerk populist response to this is informed by fake news. In the words of Robert Allen and members of The E Street band “Is There A Way To Know?”
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