Why ‘Fake News’ is Valid

In the minds of many on the right – and I think it fair to say this debate is one that would not exist without the right – there is a certain world out there. It is a world in which Sweden is falling apart because it is ‘socialist’. A world in which gays are repellent. A world in which the Bible is the final word in truth. A world in which immigrants on the street are a bad thing. A world in which blacks have found their rightful place in society and should not aspire to rise above it. A world in which so many things simply are. This is the very basis of reality.

The problem with the mainstream media is it doesn’t appear to reflect that world.

Insofar as their media of choice do reflect that world, adherence to the facts is secondary to the necessity of adherence to reality overall. It doesn’t much matter, really, whether Obama did or did not bug Trump Towers. The important fact is that Obama is a seriously bad guy, and the underlying truth of the article is ‘Obama is bad’ regardless of whether or not it is true he committed this particular act. That is an irrelevance.

When a Whitehouse aide spoke of ‘alternative facts’ over the Trump inauguration debate she may – consciously or otherwise – have been making this very point. It doesn’t much matter whether more or less people turned out for Trump’s inauguration than Obama’s. The fact, the underlying reality, is that Trump is the better man and so should have had more. In Orwell’s 1984, ‘Truth Is Lies’. Facts may lead you astray, and sometimes lies are required to point us in the right direction. If a fact makes you uncomfortable, then it is because it is not in accordance with the underlying reality. Better to have ‘alternative facts’ truly reflective of the world as it is.

Fox News once fought a case in the courts blatantly stating that nothing in American law put it under any obligation to tell the truth. Had CNN done that, the Washington Post, the New York Times, they would have lost much of their audience. Their audience is hung-up on facts. For the viewers of Fox News the statement was irrelevant. Fox News provides them with a view of the world they know. A world in which a major city in the UK is a no-go area for non-Muslims because even if it isn’t, it could be. That reflects the reality of Islam. A world in which no Muslim ever condemned an Islamist terrorist attack because hell, even though they did and in their droves, they were lying about their true feelings and secretly they rejoiced. A world in which incidents of rape have risen dramatically in Sweden since it played host to so many Syrian refugees because they’re foreigners and simply can’t integrate. If their figures were falsely presented, so what? These foreigners don’t understand the basics of consensual sex. Consequently something bad surely happened last night in Sweden and, if it didn’t, it surely will tomorrow night, the night after, next week, next month.

There are facts, there are always facts, but way more important than any individual fact, even a regiment of facts, is the underlying reality. It is that to which we must remain true. If mere facts get in the way of that, condemn them. If a creative fiction working within the bounds of realism produces an alternative fact more true to the world as it is, then it is to be embraced and should take precedence.

The news may be fake, then, but the reality it reflects is not. It is therefore truth. It is the MSM, in its slavish devotion to the facts, that fails to reflect reality.

Truth really can be lies.

Freedom of Speech

I think we can, at times, underestimate the complexity of free speech as a concept.

Two examples of what some today deem to be ‘free speech’ and yet, when you analyse it, they both – arguably, and I am arguing it – mitigate against it.

The use of vested-interest megaphones. When Reagan repealed the fairness laws which had the media representing both sides of any debate equally, particularly in the realm of politics, people claimed it as an initiative intended to protect free speech. It’s a strong argument. The media should not suffer from government restrictions, we all know where that can lead. People should not, therefore, be told what to publish in any way.

The result has been that vested interests have usurped ostensibly reliable news information outlets as campaign platforms for their particular political viewpoint. The obvious example is the Fox News network in the USA. This supposed ‘freedom’, then, merely serves to warp information presented as news from a supposedly trustworthy source. The very thing we fear – that the government will take over the media and feed us propaganda, inimical to democracy given that it leaves no room for informed opinion – is now reflected in corporate interests having control of the media for their own ends.

Is that, then, ‘free speech’? If so, should it be defended?

Heckling. Heckling is a way of using speech to intimidate other speakers, or to drown them out. We see it typically in internet forums with trolling, something I have seen some defend on the grounds that the hecklers have their right to ‘free speech’. On a broader, more important level, again in the American arena, consider the Westboro Baptist Church in their own disruptive behaviour, again defended as the exercise of ‘free speech’.

In both these instances, perhaps in many another, the ‘legislative’ control of free speech may broaden the opportunity for it overall. ‘Free speech’ is not, I would suggest, a simple beast, and we may kill it in making those very arguments intended to defend it. Indeed, in making such arguments, many may themselves have fallen foul of the propaganda of those louder voices intent upon drowning out the opposition; those, then, intent upon killing free speech.