Editorial: Fake is our perception of it

THE journalism world and their cohorts have been so engrossed with fake news; even their audience now are focused on weeding out fake news. Except that, in this world where we see different realities, an entity called fake news depends on our perception of our reality.

And no, Mister and Miss Journalists, it is not just now that fake news prevailed.

Two-time Pulitzer winner American newspaper columnist and author Walter Lippmann, in his book "Public Opinion" published in the US in 1921, discusses how ordinary citizens, their perception of public issues, and how they have become incapable of judging public issues rationally.

"Man is no Aristotelian god contemplating all existence at one glance... Yet this same creature has invented ways of seeing what no naked eye could see, of hearing what no ear could hear, of weighing immense masses and infinitesimal ones, of counting and separating more items than he can individually remember," reads the excerpt in the concluding parts of Chapter 1.

Throw into the arena the content providers who have to rush in order to publish the information gathered, that the masses generally have access to are slogans, information already condensed and shaped according to the journalists' perception of things, instead of the whole narratives of interpretations. Now think, that was in 1922 when "speed" meant transmitting these stories through wires and radios and printing these using the linotype machine; witnessed, written, transmitted, received, published daily.

Compare that to today where news is being churned out 24/7 to reach the highest number of masses, and it is not just slogans that are being produced. What we see are senseless interpretations all driven to bring up the ratings interspersed with thoughts of who Cardo will be fighting with after the news. Think: the entertainment treatment to the news on television.

"Thus the environment with which our public opinions deal is refracted in many ways, by censorship and privacy at the source, by physical and social barriers at the other end, by scanty attention, by the poverty of language, by distraction, by unconscious constellations of feeling, by wear and tear, violence, monotony. These limitations upon our access to that environment combine with the obscurity and complexity of the facts themselves to thwart clearness and justice of perception, to substitute misleading fictions for workable ideas, and to deprive us of adequate checks upon those who consciously strive to mislead," Chapter 5 concludes.

There's a lot more written that, had it not been for the personalities he is citing being of the 1920s era, would have been about today -- the so-called mainstream journalists, "Rappler," bloggers and Mocha Uson, and us, the netizens.

"In hating one thing violently, we readily associate with it as cause or effect most of the other things we hate or fear violently. They may have no more connection than smallpox and alehouses, or Relativity and Bolshevism, but they are bound together in the same emotion. In a superstitious mind, like that of the Professor of Celestial Mechanics, emotion is a stream of molten lava which catches and imbeds whatever it touches. When you excavate in it you find, as in a buried city, all sorts of objects ludicrously entangled in each other. Anything can be related to anything else, provided it feels like it. Nor has a mind in such a state any way of knowing how preposterous it is. Ancient fears, reinforced by more recent fears, coagulate into a snarl of fears where anything that is dreaded is the cause of anything else that is dreaded."

So, no. Fake news is not new, meaning, you cannot stop it by putting up a list and saying don't read, even if all bishops and priests say so. As we have always said, the problem is not in the dissemination of fake news, it is in the people believing them. The problem, then, is in the ability to discern. Teach. Don't hate.
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