Truth is being walloped by outright lies. We need to fight for it

In an ideological crisis, facts alone do not win arguments: narratives do.​ So far, only far-right media​ ​has​ understood this. Donald Trump vomited into cyberspace on Saturday, claiming Barack Obama had his “wires tapped” in the month before the election, although he cited no evidence whatsoever. The evidence, in fact, was a Breitbart article, itself citing an article on the website Heat Street, which quoted “unnamed sources.” Before we get to the truth, we must examine the lies. Because the lies are winning – and new research from academics at Columbia University shows how. Columbia’s researchers analysed 1.3m articles published online in the run-up to the US election. The results show that it is not the internet as a technology that fragments the truth, or favours fake news and outright lies. It is the overt adoption of disinformation and propaganda strategies by politically motivated rightwing outlets that creates this effect. Continue reading…


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