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Brexit name calling and Fake News

    • 99 posts
    December 4, 2017 2:31 PM GMT

    Do the terms Brexiteers or Remoaners and the way the media use them get your back up? They do mine. So often the media invent names or latch onto names that can be used in a slightly pejorative way and in this case to put us in one camp or the other and fan on-going discord.

    Each name carries with it a set of assumptions and prejudices that have built up and assumes we are in one or other camp. Whereas in fact there is a whole spectrum of positions and views that we have. What about the group of people who want to put discord behind them and are in the 'Look to the future' category?

    Categorising things is a useful shorthand in many situations but are there other categories we might introduce here to help?

    I also get increasingly annoyed with the BBC generally, particularly when I watch some interview or discussion in detail and then see it reported on the news a few minutes later with only the extreme or confrontational bits reported rather than the important aspects. And often the words used have been slightly misrepresented by ignoring the context or the clear intent of the speaker, in order to gain the desired effect. To me this is part of the spectrum of fake news, maybe not at the extreme end but nevertheless done for the media's benefit, rather than ours. It all builds up to a constant barrage of negativity and unbalanced view of the world.

    Does anyone agree?


    This post was edited by # Probably42 at December 5, 2017 9:43 AM GMT
    • 4 posts
    December 22, 2017 1:52 PM GMT

    I agree with all the points raised entirely, it is, without a doubt part of a greater strategy to divide and misinform the vast majority voters, alas, Brexit and Trump are the outcome of a far greater, deeper and sinister problem...

    Fake news is a symptom by extension of the trend to lie to and misinform the public on a grand scale to achieve the results "they" want, "they" are the ultra rich, who are the owners of corporations, businesses and the media, they own most of the money and power, they control every aspect of almost everything...

    There is one certainty, things are seldom what what they seem, the democracy we have is NOT democracy when the facts are withheld and the choices are controlled, the referendum for Brexit should never have been an option, it far to complicated and complex for the uninformed to vote on... 

    Sorry if it's off topic but it is connected... 

    • 21 posts
    December 23, 2017 8:46 AM GMT

    There is no doubt that the media barons have their own axes to grind, but I don't feel they're embarked on a greater strategy; I doubt they even talk to each other. There is enough real news around outside of the popular media for those that care to gather it - The Economist, Parliament TV, The Independent, BBC Radio 4, Huffington Post etc.

    I have to agree about the referendum. Which of us had the time, inclination or, indeed, access to make an informed judgement? But I could argue that the referendum is democracy in action.

    • 4 posts
    December 23, 2017 11:14 AM GMT

    There is no argument, it is democracy in action, it also highlights where it fails, it needs to be modified in some way that would allow for misrepresentation and lies on important issues to be nullified, democracy has it's flaws, as Socrates realised and he paid the ultimate price, yet the lesson was ignored...  

    • 99 posts
    December 23, 2017 12:35 PM GMT

    Hi Richard, good to hear your thoughts.

    I think it does raise the issue, or even opportunity, of what we want our democracy to be in the future. While on one hand I also believe that it was such an involved subject that none of us were in a position to make an informed judgement, I do believe the decision was of such import for our lives and the lives of our children that we should have had a say in it. In fact it was very interesting in that it was the first time in my life I felt my vote really counted. I've lived most of my life in a constituency dominated by one party, so irrespective of how I voted at different times, I felt my influence was negligible compared to someone who lived in a marginal constituency. So in one way I'd like more referendums! Actually I don't mean that, what I really want from democracy is ability to make my voice count on individual policies and the way we tackle each individual big issue.

    Going back to the media I think the biggest failing was that the media (or even the different sides) didn't seem to set out to educate us, to help us towards making a balanced decision, but instead preferred to offer confrontation and extreme and opinionated views, which is their stock-in-trade and which the rewards and culture in their industry actually incent them to do. So we got constant repetition of the same old messages from people whose opinions I didn't necessarily agree with and/or trust. I actually sat down and did a pros and cons analysis on paper beforehand, once we knew the referendum was going to happen, based on the knowledge gained over the years (largely from the media). I was then, with an open mind, looking for any inputs during the campaign which might add to my knowledge or change my view. I think it's fair to say I didn't get a single input that influenced me one way or the other.

    In fact just to have a go at the media a bit more, one could argue that they were responsible to some degree for the decision because anything they presented about the EU over the years was negative news, I can't think of a single good thing that was ever reported, so they didn't help at all to present that particular thread of reaching a balanced decision.   

    For all the great things the media do for an open society, I think they are also one of the big problems, or am I going too far? 

    As for the future, I think it is an ideal time now we are in this change environment, to re-think what we all want from society, democracy and government. Especially as we are also now in the early stages of the 4th industrial revolution which in my view will change society beyond recognition, in a fairly short timescale.

    Very interested in your views.


    • 4 posts
    February 4, 2018 6:01 PM GMT

    Thanks Tony, very interesting, so much to discuss in there, so ref. the media, no I don’t think you go too far, their power and influence over public opinion is of great concern, as we witness on a daily basis, even the most reliable sources, including the BBC are somewhat prone to a little bias and prejudice, not to mention being given misinformation from official sources on occasions, leaving the most discerning people confused…

    The other big one is the 4th industrial revolution, assuming you mean the internet, IOT, IT, robotics, smart phones, smart TV, smart houses/buildings, interconnectivity etc.

    Yes, it is changing society already and it’s a self-accelerating process, that will only benefit some of society directly and some indirectly… It is difficult to determine where it is going and the consequences, but it would be no harm to have a backup system independent of the current Internet set-up, as it far more fragile than is realised…              

    • 99 posts
    February 9, 2018 1:28 PM GMT

    Hi Richard,

    I'm thinking mainly about AI (Artificial Intelligence) when I talk about the 4th industrial revolution both when used just in software applications and also when close coupled with robotics. It's AI that I believe will dramatically change society in the next 20-30 years because of the increased reliance on AI doing the decision making. It's a huge force for good, but there are equally potential downsides unless we make good decisions now. 

    AI is actually a pet interest of mine, having studied it back in 1971, and picked up that interest again in the last couple of years. In fact we input to the House of Lords Select Committee on AI at the tail end of last year, as they had a call for evidence. Our input is here on P42 at http://www.probably42.net/documents/1/15/submission-to-the-lords-select-committee-on-artificial-intelligence

    I also watched the House of Lords select committee sessions on AI, where they had various Professors and others presenting to them. I thoroughly recommend it. You can watch at the time, online on ParliamentTV, or they have them all recorded online so you can catch up at any time. I was extremely impressed that I could get the same learned input to my thinking as the Lords were getting and that we had such open Government in this respect. 

    Anyway AI is not everyone's interest, although it is going to be so central, everyone will need to understand to some extent how it works and the implications.

    This post was edited by Tony Clack at February 9, 2018 1:33 PM GMT