It is interesting when one form of propaganda calls out a rival form of propaganda.
AFP is one of those informationally-devoid services disguised as news, but it all comes off like an ABC Afterschool Special.
Their latest attempt at framing “fake news” is fake news itself.
The first hint is their use of the word “weaponize”: this is a trigger-word and a propaganda word:
Since US President Donald Trump weaponised the term "fake news" during the 2016 presidential election campaign, the phrase has gone viral.
Increasingly it is used by politicians around the world to denounce or dismiss news reports that do not fit their version of the truth.
But as news outlets defend their work, false information is saturating the political debate worldwide and undermining an already weak level of trust in the media and institutions.
Outlets cannot defend their bad journalism. They misuse their pages to beg for money, tell people how brave guardians they are writing about the skits they watched on Saturday Night Live, and bash Donald Trump, as they use manipulative narratives to rig collective thought.
That isn’t news. That is propaganda.
In fact, this is exactly what AFP is trying to do: frame an issue in order to deflect attention away from journalism’s countless shortcomings, which I have been chronicling since 2005 in my first book, and continue to do so.
In my first book, I picked cases where the outlets admitted to reporting fake news. I could have posted ones where they insisted it was true and I had them dead to rights on their willful deceptions, but I went for the confirmed and admitted fake news so there would be no wiggle room.
And the fact that the press continues to pretend that this doesn’t happen or that they are sloppy and not empirical in their approach tells you that the US President knows who they really are.
It is the reason we need an alternative: we cannot rely on people who manipulate and lie to make decrees about other people’s truthfulness and trustworthiness. You can have two bands of thugs making ultimatums: you do not have to pick either side. You can tell them both to fuck off, and not follow any thugs.
Which is the wisest course of action. Politics is broken, but so is journalism. They both should be held accountable for their sins.
But more importantly, it is time to replace the old systems for something much smarter — and kinder…