We are in a “post-truth”, “post-lie”, “post-differentiating opinion from fact” hell on earth.
Oxford Dictionaries has selected “post-truth” as 2016’s international word of the year, after the contentious “Brexit” referendum and an equally divisive U.S. presidential election caused usage of the adjective to skyrocket, according to the Oxford University Press.
The dictionary defines “post-truth” as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”
In this case, the “post-” prefix doesn’t mean “after” so much as it implies an atmosphere in which a notion is irrelevant — but then again, who says you have to take our word for it anymore? (WaPo)
I am not sure how we ended up here. My best guess? It started during the eighties, when the media as a whole had some left-leaning bias it would not admit. That created a vacuum which left a space for people like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and others, along with Fox News, to come along during the nineties. They billed themselves as “Fair and Balanced” and became the home of conservative news. At that point, reporters were still doggedly insisting they were not partisan, even though much of what they did was so obviously, unabashedly leftist. Commentators did not have their own shows.
However, over time those right-leaning journalists became hyper-partisan. Then came Infowars and Breitbart, and the truth flew out the window. Spin was spun and no longer contained more than a glimmer of truth. In the past few years, the base has been trained to believe no one other than them. Everyone else is now afflicted with liberal bias. Anything that does not conform to what they are told is propaganda. Charlie Sykes, a long-time Republican commentator, has spoken and written extensively about the conservative news bubble and the monster they have unleashed upon themselves.
In fact, throughout the election season, it has appeared that Republicans have fielded more attacks from their supposed friends on the right than their political opponents on the left. It’s an incidental twist, considering how Republicans helped foster the growth of the conservative news media in order to avoid the skewering of mainstream journalists. (BI)
With the rise of those like Hannity and O’Reilly and Ingraham, along with the Internet and social media, people have created bubbles where they will believe and forward anything that conforms to their preconceived biases. They do not even use common sense anymore, much less fact-check, and this includes people on the left. During the election, if it was pro-their candidate, it did not matter what it was. They not only bought it, they also pushed it onto everyone in their circle. Anyone who dared question them was dismissed as a shill for the other side.
Now making a statement and providing a mainstream source to back it up is no longer “enough”. They will challenge you, demand you provide more evidence, and more still, because you made the claim. My argument is I make a claim. If I back it up with an article from USA Today or CBS News, I’ve done my part. This seems petty, but it really is not. This is post-truth reality. This is what we are up against. Part of me wants to walk away and throw up my hands. Are they too far gone to waste my time? The other part is desperate to get through to them. I realize I’m just a bleeding heart liberal, but maybe, just maybe if I get through to one person…but how?
Then the most frightening reality of all hits me square in the face. Who will be the brave organization to step up and flag Whitehouse.gov as fake news first?