Category Archives: Post-fact society

The time for ‘neutrality’ has passed

Just as pseudoscience — “science-y sounding” information that is not scientific — is dangerous when used to convey misinformation about health, energy, the environment and other topics, “pseudonews” is dangerous when used to convey misinformation about politics, finance, regulations, public policy and other matters of importance to citizens and society. It’s not necessarily “fake news,” …

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The tech-social justice conundrum

Now, suddenly, our much-vaunted tech leaders find themselves confronted with a conundrum that’s been quietly evolving for a long time: the conundrum of whether it’s possible to create an innovative, data-driven, smart and futuristic society without also taking care to ensure a societal foundation of rules and laws that are just, fair, equitable and humane. …

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Inauguration day

And so we come to this day: Jan. 20, 2017. Inauguration Day. The day on which the U.S. White House becomes – in the eyes of many who voted for a different presidential candidate – Slytherin House, its occupant the Left’s own Voldemort. During the 30 days leading up to today, I’ve been doing a …

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There’s nothing new about ‘fake’ news

During the interview for my first full-time newspaper reporting job, years before anyone had heard of – or even conceived of – the World Wide Web, I remember the managing editor of the small suburban weekly asking something to the effect of why he should hire me, a recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree in …

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In the long run, we are all subject to reality

Funny thing about “fake news” and propaganda: no matter who spreads the misinformation or how widely it’s believed, the “reality-based world” and rules of nature still ultimately prevail. No matter how many people wanted to blame medieval Europe’s Black Death on Jews, Romani or lepers, scientists today understand that the pandemic was caused by bites …

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After 2016: Planning for a ‘post-fact-checking’ era

The 2016 presidential race has, at long last, illustrated the clear and urgent need for journalists to be more than stenographers or writers of milquetoast, “he-said-she-said” missives that regardless won’t satisfy the true believers of Fox News’ “fair-and-balanced” fiction. The election suddenly elevated the importance of fact checking and, even, for the still-sadly small number …

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The toxic and alluring mix of truth and falsehood

Ask pretty much anyone who’s been around long enough to see a few U.S. election cycles in action, and they’ll probably agree with the statement, “Politicians lie.” And there’s plenty of evidence from the past few months alone to prove that’s true. Lies can be useful to a would-be leader, especially one with Machiavellian tendencies. …

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Why does blatant misinformation persist?

Why does blatant misinformation persist in the face of so much evidence to the contrary? One big reason is money. Another is people’s biases and desires. Combine those two, and the result is almost inevitable: it’s often highly profitable to tell people things they want to hear … no matter how untrue those things might …

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Bring out your dead

“Unfavorable tree symptoms.” Hats off to DuPont for crafting this fine PR expression to describe the many dead tree left in the wake of its now-banned weed-killer Imprelis.

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Sociopath nation

Antisocial personality disorder (also known as sociopathic personality disorder): “Antisocial personality disorder symptoms may include: Disregard for right and wrong, Persistent lying or deceit, Using charm or wit to manipulate others, Recurring difficulties with the law, Repeatedly violating the rights of others, Child abuse or neglect, Intimidation of others, Aggressive or violent behavior, Lack of …

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