Want to crack down on fake news? Let’s start with this lot!

As part of their myopic Trump/Brexit post-mortem, the establishment is up in arms about Fake News.

You have probably heard about it. The Russian-sponsored stuff often authored by Macedonian teenagers which is allegedly putting democracy at risk around the globe.

I’m not too bothered about it myself. Anyone who takes seriously the likes of this belter from the iffy looking Political Insider isn’t going to be persuaded by a quality argument.

Wouldn't put it past her

Wouldn’t put it past her

This looks totally legit right?

This looks totally legit, right?

Nor would anyone who thinks that there is validity to a story about Pope Francis endorsing Trump published in an outfit called WTOE 5 News.

These are the kind of publications that the establishment is getting all het up about. They have the same journalistic integrity as an Oor Wullie album and as such are never going to have a major impact other than as click-bait ad revenue generators.

You can eliminate the effectiveness of such sites by making sure the majority of people have the mental capacity of highland coo.

Sadly, the source isn’t that great a guarantee of the saneness of a story which is probably why fake news seamlessly blends into the online environment. This is a recent headline from one of our supposedly more sensible papers and of course the resulting article doesn’t quite live up to the startling promise. It gets you to click though which is what it’s all about.

The ultimate case of Jam tomorrow

The ultimate case of jam tomorrow

The papers are chock-a-block with misleading but hard to resist headlines. Or worse still, salacious piffle, malicious gossip and titillating materialism.

The bulk of mainstream newspaper content is not news, it’s garbage. Which isn’t the end of the world as, like with fake news, most people are reading it for distraction and entertainment. It does not lead to a perfectly informed populous but it does provide escapism for millions of stressed and exhausted minds.

Not liked by the Guardian

Not liked by the Guardian

What is more of a worry is something that most people are not up in arms about.

That is extreme bias in the mainstream news. Where they report on some important political issue that did actually occur but do so with such a slant that is as far removed from the truth as possible without actually lying.

This type of content is rife in media from all sides of the political divide. For instance, even for someone like me who was disgusted by the prospect of the election of Trump, I found it hard to read the Guardian during the US election campaign as its reporting was so obviously against him.

It would be easy to compile a massive list of reports like this. In recent months we have exposed two pro-union Telegraph articles which blatantly mislead the public about Scottish political issues.

The shrieking exaggerations of Siobhan McFadyen in the Express are another example. We sent her up and worryingly some who read our piss-take, which was an almost word for word copy of one of her efforts, took it seriously.

The reason that the sub-par biased reporting that gets printed in the mainstream is more dangerous than the fake news, is because it has an air of legitimacy about it. You have to be educated above highland coo level to not find it persuasive. It is often written in a sly machiavellian fashion that takes a reasonable level of scepticism, literacy and open-mindedness not to be suckered into.

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Recently, the establishment is going through a crisis of confidence.

They don’t understand Trump nor Brexit and they are looking for things to blame. Fake news is an easy target but it probably isn’t the real culprit. In truth, it is them who have failed.

First, they have failed to instil in all of us from a young age the virtues of reason, literacy and rationality. Instead, education serves to prime many for an adult life of mundane conformity. The establishment media have for decades been only too happy to distract us from that existence by filling their publication with shallow shiny trinkets. While all the time never failing to reinforce the skewed political and world views of the tax dodging moguls who run them. Fake news may not be ideal, but good luck finding the true stuff.

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Bobby Hainey

Joint founder of Autonomyscotland. In my spare time I enjoy Road Cycling, Munro bagging and beer.

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