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The War on Social Media: Is Trump the biggest Social Justice Warrior of them all?

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Fake news is a phrase that we have come to associate with Donald Trump in the same way that we do a machine that Hoovers with Dyson. I’ll bet you can hear him saying it right now.

With the news that Trump is about to take the Social Media Companies to task – now that Twitter has created a button to flag fake news, the threat that the President of the United States could pull the rug from under the new media age is something that should concern us all.

Fake news remains a major problem on streams such as Facebook and Twitter. But fake news is now a constituent part of what Mainstream Media and Governments actively create when they publish or broadcast subjective opinion or personal views, then frame it as being objective or factual content.

We have seen this process in action just this week, with Emily Maitlis editorialising what should have been a journalistic intro to the BBC’s Newsnight Programme on Tuesday evening, giving what was an opinion on the Cummings saga whilst dressing it up as clear fact.

Emily is thankfully a relative minnow in comparison to the World’s heavyweight opinionator Donald Trump. What they share between them is the misuse of a public platform to project the correctness of their own views – or who they represent, clearly opposing alternative points of view, not to mention playing hard and loose with any countering truths.

A wholly objective Trump might have a point about easy ‘reporting’ on Twitter being a retrograde step. Teaching and promoting the art of critical thinking in Schools, Colleges and Universities would be a much more appropriate and reasoned action for any Government to take.

Regrettably, the subjective and Donald first at any cost Trump that we know simply hates the prospect of it being easy and straightforward for any normal person to call him out.

Trump heads towards a late Autumn Election in which he intends to secure a second term. Shutting down Companies like Twitter and Facebook now would simply be with the intent of furthering his own political cause. It is a step that is unlikely to pay the dividends that he intends or would like.

Social Media has been very kind to Trump for as many wrong reasons as there have been right. Trump would do well to remember that now.

Whilst 2020 began with his re-election looking like it was in the bag, his handling of the Coronavirus Pandemic and the rise of Joe Biden make it look anything but certain that he will win.

The difference between now and 2016 is the rules have changed. Social Media has matured. More and more of us know and understand what it is all about.

Yes there are many echo chambers that exist and confirmation bias does have an unkind habit of doing its absolute worst.

But for all the trolling and negativity of this parallel universe that the Internet and Social Media provides us, the positives and the opportunities they offer far outweigh the negatives. That’s as long as our freedom of use is maintained universally, as it was intended and our communication is not censored, coerced or controlled.

Trump is possibly the worst offender when it comes to being the archetypal angry control freak attempting to influence and dictate what others are in his view always supposed to think. The parallels with Social Justice Warriors who visit destruction on the livelihoods and reputations of whoever gets in the way of their agendas are quite startling and we have to wonder if Donald Trump is the biggest SJW of them all? 

image thanks to newyorker.com 

Media ‘celebrities’ are obsessed with being the news rather than conveying it. They hold a big part of the responsibility for the mess this Country is about to be in and its time for opinion dressed as news to stop.

April 11, 2020 5 comments

img_5628The chances are you will fall into one of two groups. Those who are watching the endless Coronavirus Show on the News Channels, or those who have all but switched off to the so-called ‘news’ programmes completely.

Watchers will either be cheering on the Government and all it does. Or most likely, they are too terrified by the messages that are playing hour by hour on what feels like autorepeat to miss a single moment or a minute of coverage that could end up making the Coronavirus Crisis even worse than it is already in some way.

Those who have switched off have long since realised how much destruction the Media is causing simply because they are being allowed to portray news in their very own distinctive way.

The Media – or rather the people they appoint to be their face – used to simply be Television and Newspaper Journalists. Not any more.

In their own minds the people who read us the news have become celebrities. They are no longer there just to ask the questions to find the answers that we all want to hear. They see themselves there to be the answer and therefore the news itself.

No better example of this exists than the preamble that Journalist Emily Maitlis gave at the beginning of Newsnight on Wednesday evening this week.

Emily has been lauded on social media for her sermon rubbishing the idea that Coronavirus is the great leveller and spelling out the story for what it is really is. Yet her speech to a captive audience was subjective, very little to do with what critical thinking would identify as news, and in layman’s terms was little more than opinion. All given to us by the shovel load right in the middle of a National Crisis when news and information is the one thing that the Taxpaying Public should be able to expect the BBC to be getting right.

The slant, shading, unsubtle nuances or spin contained within this specific tirade was very much in keeping with the message that the mainstream media has been propagating right from the time that the Coronavirus Pandemic took off in this Country.

A message that is wholly negative (because only bad news sells) and intended to deliberately foster fear about the Virus itself. It seeks to remove the boundaries of context and suggesting that ‘protecting  the NHS’ and the medical or scientific operation to address the health issues relating to Coronavirus are the only thing that the Government response should really be about.

Yes, the BBC and other mainstream channels have been carrying other news about what the Chancellor has been doing. But because they cannot sensationalise the worsening of life experience for the many people who were suffering in this Country already and the exponential rise in numbers of people who will soon live that experience themselves, they pick up these real life stories that are happening and drop it as quickly as they can so they can replace them with their idea of what could be.

Put bluntly in real terms, a newsreader cannot sell you suicide as a reason for you to be fearful in the same way as they can sell you a Pandemic because there is perceived to be an element of personal choice when someone considers killing his or herself, whilst catching a virus offers you no choice and so fear is sold to you in different forms as the only protection that there really is.

What the Media fail to recognise and therefore tragically overlook is that because they have worked so tirelessly to sensationalise the whole Coronavirus Pandemic using words and messages that are in most cases likely to be more than 95% opinion, they collectively hold significant responsibility for driving our Politicians to instigate this Lockdown without consideration for the real consequences.

The speed the Lockdown was imposed and the Government remedies came into being in response to noise the Media was making, provided us all with ill-considered solutions to the financial hardship that the Lockdown has imposed on people of all demographic backgrounds, career pathways and financial positions.

Regrettably we are not being led through the Coronavirus Crisis by the politicians that we should have.

We are being led by politicians who are the product of an establishment that sees no benefit or reason to be in touch with or to understand the people it is supposedly there to govern and care for.

Such is their inability to lead, our leaders are themselves being led by a media that has become wholly adept at creating policy by dog whistle without even knowing that they do so.

If real catastrophe is to be avoided across the uk, the Lockdown MUST be ended now.

However, to make things work as they should to benefit us all, it has become essential that the Media are pulled into line and reprise their true role as the providers of news and information rather than simply throwing out what they think we would like to hear and telling us all that its the same thing as news.

This is not about freedom of speech, freedom of expression or freedom of the press.

Real news should always be reported fully and without spin or angle. The only exception for us not to receive news would be when it is critical for the national interest to not do so.

This is about tackling misinformation and fake news at the highest level.

Make no mistake. Opinion in the place of news is what fake news really is.

The fact that this massive abuse of a position of public influence is considered legitimate doesn’t make what the newsreaders and journalists are doing any better or any more in the public interest than the stories of the conspiracists and social media channels where it is clear that the story being told has been built up on the basis of how the channel or username holder was paid.

The Government MUST stop prioritising the messages that it churns out on the basis of how newsworthy it is. The pre-briefings and copies of speeches that haven’t been given need to stop. Above all, the role of the Media has to be seen for what it is: a conduit and no more.

It is not the end in itself that those working as the names and faces of these Media outlets insist we should believe it to be.

To End the Lockdown in a way that causes the least pain that it can, the politicians need to start ignoring what the Media are telling everyone and start talking to the people who really count. Not just medical people or scientists who they tell us know what to do.

By taking then wider view and considering all elements of this very large equation, that’s how they can find their way to making decisions that are in everyones interests and deliver results that they cannot visualise now, but will turn out to be right.

image thanks to wikipedia.co.uk

 

 

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