State Media outlet ABC News (The American version, this time) is pretending to be engaging in a fair and balanced debate about the role of government in combatting “fake news,” in protecting the public from disinformation (never mind that governments live by disinformation, and have since they came into being).
ABC News offers a critique of France’s recent calls to clamp down on Fake News, especially against the boogeymen that are the Russians. In a brilliant display of political Jiu Jitsu, ABC News appears to be taking the side of the pro-free-journalists, but it does so while presenting the anti-free-journalism side as being a rational response to a legitimate problem.
The key part of this article, buried toward the end is a quote from Edward Tenner, a technology historian, who said, “The only long-term solution for the fake news problem is a more sophisticated public.”
So long as government schools continue to dominate the education marketplace (such as it is, at present), it is highly doubtful in this writer’s opinion that such a public will ever come into being.
As France’s government prepares its bill, it will be learning lessons from a German law that went into effect this month cracking down on hate speech on social networks. Some fear legitimate posts by satirists or journalists are being accidentally caught up in the dragnet.
Shutting down websites can also backfire by calling more attention to them.
“The only long-term solution for the fake news problem is a more sophisticated public,” Tenner said.
“Sophisticated manipulators of facts will always find a way around whatever regulations are in place,” such as creating a front company to sponsor a website or writing “something that is misleading and inflammatory that is factually true,” he said.
Daniel Castro, vice president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, outlines another problem: “People like fake news. It reinforces their beliefs.”
Macron is prompting “a very valid conversation” about campaign funding and transparency. But “where it runs into trouble is when they try to define fake news,” he said.