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To think "post truth" is an incredibly dangerous phrase...

(93 Posts)
MoreBushThanMoss Mon 19-Dec-16 22:34:58

... For media outlets/ pundits/ commentators to be using???

It legitimises what is basically lies and propaganda, by suggesting "post truth" goes beyond truth in at best an ambiguous, at worst a positive way, with the subtle subtext that it could be a better reality....

Egs of "post truth" politics - the election of trump. Brexit. The Assad/ Russian response to Aleppo criticism.

None of these are "good things"- and all are egs of dangerous right wing campaigns based on repressing truth, spreading misinformation and bamboozling the public. So should we be sanctioning this atrocious abuse of power/ media / social media by calling it a symptom of the "post truth" era - or calling it what it is- lies?

Discuss confused

MaidOfStars Mon 19-Dec-16 22:38:45

'Post truth' is neither ambiguous nor positive, IMO.

BertrandRussell Mon 19-Dec-16 22:40:02

This was the moment the shark jumped

WrongTrouser Mon 19-Dec-16 22:42:49

Well, interesting that in an OP about truth you should state that Brexit is not a Good Thing as if this is fact rather than an opinion. I think Brexit is a Good Thing (as do quite a lot of other people - I do believe we had a vote to find out whether the electorate thought it was a Good Thing and the majority of those who voted did.)

almondpudding Mon 19-Dec-16 22:43:00

Post truth isn't positive. It's never meant that way.

I dislike the phrase because it implies there was some point when we were living in a truthful society.

MaidOfStars Mon 19-Dec-16 22:43:16

Sorry, I think I missed the subtlety of your point. It's 'post', suggesting that we have achieved enlightenment beyond truth, that is problematic? So 'anti truth' would be less of an issue (for example)?

HardcoreLadyType Mon 19-Dec-16 22:43:52

There is a documentary on the iPlayer called Hypernormalisation which discusses this phenomenon.

Basically the argument is that world events are very complex, so it is much simpler for governments to present a different, simple, more clear cut version of events to us.

I don't think the concept of "post truth" is supposed to be accepted as a good thing, which your post implies. The point is that people are happy to accept opinion and obvious lies as convincing arguments, if they suit their previously held beliefs.

MaidOfStars Mon 19-Dec-16 22:45:23

WrongTrouser Brexit is post truth because it was a political decision based more on abstract and emotion than fact. It's got nothing to do with the democracy of the vote. Same for Trump.

Pettywoman Mon 19-Dec-16 22:45:55

It is a danger to our planet and to us all. The awful thing is it suits the media, especially Murdoch and his ilk so these politicians don't get called out on it. Science, reason and progress all out of the window.

MoreBushThanMoss Mon 19-Dec-16 22:48:50

Exactly what pudding said

It's an issue of language I suppose. "Post" means "after". After is a neutral word that arguably could have if not positive, then certainly progressive connotations.

It's just all a bit Orwellian for my liking. "We've gone beyond truth, now folks" ... But nobody is saying outright that these are LIES!

Apols of partisan feelings about Brexit. Totally agree for many people it's a good thing- and i shouldn't have suggested otherwise. What is irrefutable is that much of the Leave campaign relied on stonking great lies- such as potential NHS spend- to win popular opinion. (They could have probably won without the lies though, I agree, such was the overriding public mood)

TulipsInAJug Mon 19-Dec-16 22:49:44

My vote Leave was not based on feelings. hmm

Agree that post-truth is dangerous and the greatest example of it was the American election campaign.

But it applies only to the western world.

Russia and similarly totalitarian, propaganda states have always been post-truth.

TulipsInAJug Mon 19-Dec-16 22:50:50

And yes, post-truth basically means lies.

There was a good Guardian column about this, Jonathan Freedman.

Scholes34 Mon 19-Dec-16 22:52:12

Now is an interesting time to re-read 1984.

almondpudding Mon 19-Dec-16 22:52:40

So when was the truthful society?

Was it when there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

Was it during the Torture cover ups and Guantanomo Bay?

Was it during the General Strike when the government was planning to bomb Jarrow?

Was it during the Miners' Strike when the BBC faked footage?

Was it during the sinking of the Belgrano?

almondpudding Mon 19-Dec-16 22:54:25

Chopwell, not Jarrow.

WrongTrouser Mon 19-Dec-16 22:54:27

Maid I disagree and I think the attempt of some on the remain side to try to dismiss any opposing views as emotion based and non-factual, whereas their own are all objective rational truths, is about as post-truth as you can get.

When the Remain camp appealed to their ‘facts’, forecasts, and models, they hoped that these would be judged as outside of the fray of politics. More absurdly, they seemed to imagine that the opinions of bodies such as the IMF might be viewed as ‘independent’. Unfortunately, economics has been such a crucial prop for political authority over the past 35 years that it is now anything but outside of the fray of politics

www.perc.org.uk/project_posts/thoughts-on-the-sociology-of-brexit

MoreBushThanMoss Mon 19-Dec-16 22:57:59

Sorry it was maid who said 'anti truth' would be better....

MoreBushThanMoss Mon 19-Dec-16 23:00:06

pudding - but do you think those incidents defined the events, or were more side issues?

I think the thing about the 'post truth' trend that frightens me, is that events are driven by the post truths, not just represented, depicted or nuanced by them....

MoreBushThanMoss Mon 19-Dec-16 23:00:53

Sorry I meant to say that events are driven by the public believing the post truths

almondpudding Mon 19-Dec-16 23:03:01

THe WMD drove the Iraq War.

And that was a far bigger deal with greater consequences than what is happening now.

Much of now is a consequence of that war.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHorrid Mon 19-Dec-16 23:03:01

hardcore Hypernormalisation was great and completely bloody terrifying.

I was really stuck by the "therapy machine" where people pretty much say talking to themselves - what makes people happy is having themselves reflected back at them.

People accept evidence and views that back up their own opinion and dismiss any that contradicts it.

almondpudding Mon 19-Dec-16 23:06:22

With Trump, for example.

Wasn't that mostly a consequence of black voters not liking H. Clinton so not turning up to vote.

The white democrat/republican split was very similar to in previous elections.

How is that Post Truth?

MoreBushThanMoss Mon 19-Dec-16 23:13:34

Sorry I think I'm only just clarifying to myself what I mean... blush to be clear-

Post truth (to me) is problematic because it suggests that we are in a state "beyond" or "after" truth. And this could be construed as a positive thing. Even that we have ascended to a higher consciousness where the distinction between truth and lies is no longer important.

My problem with the events Eg trump and Brexit as mentioned above, is that it is the public who have driven these events- and it is they who have been victims of the "post truth" manipulations.

WMD in Iraq. torture in Guantanamo etc- these were events driven by lies - but did NOT depend on the public acting as a consequence of a belief in those lies.

MephistophelesApprentice Mon 19-Dec-16 23:14:15

It's simply classic post-modernist relativism; All commentators have their own agendas, all experts are prisoners of their dogma, no such thing as objective truth exists, it's all opinion. It's been an intellectual cancer spreading through the academic humanities and now it's metastasised to the body politic.

almondpudding Mon 19-Dec-16 23:18:36

That makes a lot of sense, how you've explained it.

I don't believe the public have been manipulated though. I think many were aware of the issues, and expect to be lied to politicians.

In the run up to Brexit, many people complained that they were not given enough information.

I am far more concerned by the tribalistic way people responded to the vote, but that's a whole other issue...

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