Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: Post "post-truth" post

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  • oga,

    Didn't this whole post-truth thing have its genesis in the removal of the fairness doctrine in August 1987? All of the language related to fairness in broadcasting was removed completely from the law in 2011, and ever since, the practice of straight-up lying on the media has spread and spread until elections are won based on who can spread misinformation the best.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Mash media...

    ...they should have put it on outbrain as “New Zealand sent some sheep to Mecca. You’ll be amazed what happened next.”

    Brilliant scheme!
    I like it!

    I can see that right next to "He assured them there were Weapons of Mass Destruction, so they went looking. You won't believe what went down after that!"

    More and more the Jon Stewart/John Oliver approach to feeding facts to the public gets more cut-through than serious reportage and the more common once-over-lightly flimsy filler.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7944 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    Isn’t it just that the lies have changed? It used to be self serving politicians lying about what is best for the country, then it was ssp’s lying about a third way and the centre ground, now it is ssp’s lying to a shrinking middle class about aspirational maintainance of wealth, property and employment in a society with areas of economic liquefaction. The lies are going to become more shrill and strident as the wealth is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. Then there are the self serving voters who lie to themselves.

    Or community serving politicians are going to point out a blinding, self evident truth to the majority of detruthed voters and effect real change.

    Since Mar 2010 • 380 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Judith Collins just said that she doesn't respond to personal attacks.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank,

    Well, a politician will only provide moral leadership if there's a societal reward for doing so, right? Since mainstreamers re-elect Nat/Lab leaders regardless, there's no incentive for the establishment parties to select leaders who tell the truth. Call it failure of the political market, call it failure of democracy to live up to it's (illusory) promise, both apply.

    You can understand why a political leader would be reluctant to inform the public that he was obliged to tell the truth because his conscience requires it. People would fall about laughing, many would fall on hard objects and hurt themselves, and we can't afford another public health crisis.

    Telling stories instead of telling the truth is much more rewarding. Media need to recycle interesting stories to entertain readers. Truth-value is irrelevant to this public need - in fact, a lot of people are bored by the truth. Hitler understood this well: his stories became myths that inspired many, inducing mass psychosis.

    If society is not to degenerate into a relativistic morass of competing interpretations, a body of public opinion must remain grounded in what is real. Kiwi pragmatists look askance at prominent folk who display a self-indulgent tendency to mislead the public. Politicians who seem to believe their own spin risk their reputations whenever their interpretation makes it seem as if they are telling lies. Notwithstanding any teflon factor, our court of public opinion will eventually drift toward a harsh verdict.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • Kevin McCready,

    Rob you are wrong. A journalist's job is to tell the truth and challenge lies. Lucy is also wrong thinking this is not possible. I smell the postmodernist fallacy that truth is relative and that bias cannot be handled within a science or journalistic community.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2013 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C,

    An intelligent discussion, provided by Colin Peacock, and also commentary by a not so convincing Andrea Vance, but better commentary by Mr Bill Fish from Massey University. This tells us what is going on, in regards to conditioning and brainwashing, misinformation and so forth, which helps Nats to stay in power:


    Over inundation with information, now via social media, leads people to simply cling to and believe their own bias.

    We do live in a post truth era, this is fact, no further convincing needed from my point of view.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Marc C,

    Recommended further listening:
    the most recent few episodes of BBC Radio 4’s series The Human Zoo cover a range of cognitive biases and their impact on decision-making:
    As a matter of fact (14/6/2016) – on the nature of “facts” and their surprisingly tenuous connection to our decision-making process;
    Shortcuts to the Simple Life (21/6/2016) – on our tendency to answer simple questions as proxies for the harder ones we actually need to answer;
    That Post-Referendum Feeling (28/6/2016) – on how we justify our decisions after the fact and become more convinced our position was right, regardless of the outcome;
    Trust me, I’m an expert (5/7/2016) – on human inability to judge who is a credible expert (cf. Kruger-Dunning effect), leading us to value our own irrelevant experience and ignore the informed “elite”.
    (The programme does not say this, but it’s of course made much easier if you also demonize, or merely “other”, that group.)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1931 posts Report Reply

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