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  #1  
Old 30 December 2018, 01:54 AM
Jusenkyo no Pikachu Jusenkyo no Pikachu is offline
 
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Default How fake news has shaped history

https://www.smh.com.au/national/the-...27-p50ohq.html

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We can fact check lies but who will tell the stories of those who have been ignored, stereotypes and scrubbed out of history? First Nations people have been fed fake news and lies about their history and their present for centuries. As have we all. And the impact of this endures.

Myths like: there is only one Aboriginal culture, voice, or viewpoint. That Aboriginal people are inherently violent, lazy, drunk. That the impact of colonisation has long passed. That the first inhabitants of this land were simply hunter-gatherers. That Australia was just a wilderness before Europeans arrived.

The truth is starkly different. In his brilliant book Dark Emu, Indigenous historian Bruce Pascoe documented how Aboriginal peoples lived here for millennia before Cook arrived, establishing a sophisticated, cultivated form of land management, carefully tended irrigation and extensive farming and fish-trapping practices with villages with wells, dams, permanent buildings made of clay-coated wood and elaborate cemeteries - operating as a cluster of distinct but connected democracies. A land carefully tilled, a land built upon, a land that sustained an economy, a land that was theirs.
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  #2  
Old 30 December 2018, 12:03 PM
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The myths endure because they contain a kind of shiny-eyed magic. But they are undeniably fake news.
No, tales about Santa Claus are myths or possibly folk stories. 'Fake news' means a specific thing and doesn't (or at least shouldn't) refer to everything that is untrue.

It might sound like I'm being pedantic, except that I think misuse of the term is partly responsible for the spread of 'real' fake news. If everything is fake news, after all, then nothing is. If anything you don't believe is fake news, then anything somebody somewhere doesn't believe is fake news too: Santa, stereotypes, anything in the 'liberal media', the effectiveness of vaccines...

Inaccurate and incomplete history is not fake news. It's loosely connected, but it's something else. Stick the 'fake news' label on it and you're setting the problem up to be ignored.
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Old 30 December 2018, 04:09 PM
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A better way of saying this is: History is written by the winners.
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Old 30 December 2018, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blatherskite View Post
No, tales about Santa Claus are myths or possibly folk stories. 'Fake news' means a specific thing and doesn't (or at least shouldn't) refer to everything that is untrue.

[ . . . ]

Inaccurate and incomplete history is not fake news.
I'm not so sure.

I agree that Santa Claus is something else altogether. It's a children's teaching story. And, about teaching in this fashion, I don't think anybody's ever going to provide a better explanation than Pratchett's Hogfather (I'd recommend the whole thing, but for anyone who doesn't already know it, here's the most relevant quote.)

But I think a lot of that "inaccurate and incomplete history" is indeed in the same category as 'fake news'. The saying that 'history is written by the victors' has a lot of truth in it -- and the 'victors' are very often including deliberate lies about the conquered, meant to deceive the less well informed on their side(s), as well as to make themselves look better in the history books. Yes, many of the European settlers of what is now the USA, for instance, genuinely had no idea that the cultures they were replacing had ever existed, and thought they were settling basically human-unoccupied wilderness claimed only by a few people who 'weren't using it'. But there was plenty of evidence otherwise that didn't get into their history books (or into the ones I was given in school in the 1950's and 60's): and there were deliberate choices made to leave that evidence out. Just as there were deliberate choices made to leave out of my schoolbooks that Columbus took slaves and Washington was a slaveowner -- I could go on for quite a while.
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Old 30 December 2018, 09:13 PM
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I think I'll start a thread about it later, but this is a good place, too, for mentioning the podcast Scene on Radio, and their series on "Seeing White." Extremely enlightening and thought- and feeling- provoking. Part of it deals with the mythology of this country.
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Old 31 December 2018, 01:49 PM
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The problem I feel is that people are (in some case deliberately) confusing "Fake" with "False". Which in a way is its own fake news when you're doing it deliberately; self delusion?


False - Factually Incorrect, or later proven to be incorrect.

Fake - Deliberately attempting to appear correct for a purpose.


A fake painting of the Mona Lisa purported to be by an old master wouldn't work if she's holding a mobile phone to her ear. Mona Lisa having a mobile is false, passing her off as legitimate despite that is fake.
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Old 31 December 2018, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Obesie View Post
The problem I feel is that people are (in some case deliberately) confusing "Fake" with "False".
Do you mean people in this thread?

And if so, who?
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Old 01 January 2019, 05:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust
Do you mean people in this thread?

And if so, who?

Nope, didn't mean this thread; if I had I'd have quoted the person.

I meant in general where I see discussions regarding Fake News, or when someone tries to point out or suggest something is Fake News - the first hurdle seems to be the understanding of what Fake News actually is (and not confusing it with just "False" or "Improperly Researched" News).

I do disagree however with grouping Fake News and incorrectly recorded history together; the two I feel are on different levels. I think Fake News is one aspect of the "History by the Victor" issue; and eventually if repeated enough and 'supported' enough Fake News could morph into it, but I believe Fake News is supposed to have a much shorter term impact and effect. A single instance of Fake News is like a short lie, something to catch someone out by appealing to some aspect of their nature or views; to set them up to be influenced. Over time the bombardment reshapes their views to match what the intent of the Fake News provider is.

The Fake News makes the "History by the Victor" acceptable in the eyes of the influenced party. Or it can be used to sway political leanings. Or skew people's buying habits. Or probably all number of impacts I can't imagine. Not necessarily just making history favour certain retellings. Maybe it's just an issue of scale? I guess X business going under because of a Fake News rumour that there were rats found in the kitchen (purely example) could be the "History by the Victor" for their competitors if they started the rumour?

I would honestly expect that the writers of "history by the victor" would probably not want to mention the Fake News in their history; because it's akin to a paper trail. Leave it to be forgotten so it can't be traced back to the truth (or at least, traced back to what caused it to veer off course from accurate reporting).
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Old 01 January 2019, 06:00 PM
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History is written by the victor has always suggested to me a skewed account of actual events. I think of fake news as often made up out of whole cloth, often to justify something or sway opinion or support a particular world view. It's a calculated thing. I didn't realize until recently how much that same technique has been employed throughout history to justify actions or promote views. What might be unique at this moment is how easy it is to fact check, and how many people don't care when the blatant lies are exposed.
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Old 02 January 2019, 01:20 PM
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Fake News is when a falsehood is presented as a legitimate news story either out of mischief or in order to be shared on social media as a way of getting advertising revenue (think of false 'celebrity is dead!' stories). I think the term was popularised when it became a huge problem on facebook (with obviously fabricated stories popping up alongside real news items).

When Trump started using it to describe news that seemed critical of him, he was deliberately trying to conflate legitimate news sources he didn't like with con artistry.

Suddenly, the word Fake News started to be used by people, mostly on the right, to criticise news with a certain political bias, mostly to the left.

The left, on the whole, seemed to respond to this by accepting the premise that Fake News is news that you disagree with or news with a bias, rather than pointing out that news that leans to the left is not necessarily false or that the 'mainstream media' doesn't really have one political agenda (the most popular newspapers here in the UK, after all, are right-wing).

I know that language changes, but this annoys me because all it does is lend credence to Trump's original conflation of two different things. It enables certain news sources such as Breitbart the opportunity to publish any old nonsense because it's the mainstream media that is Fake News - and if they're not mainstream then they must be trustworthy!

ETA: and the conflation with 'fake' and 'mainstream' creates a big problem for understanding history. By calling bad history 'fake news', you are connecting to a bunch of people who oppose the mainstream simply because to them whatever is mainstream is fake news. There are mainstream attitudes towards history that are perfectly accurate - like the acceptance that the Holocaust did, in fact, happen to use one very important example.

Last edited by Blatherskite; 02 January 2019 at 01:30 PM.
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  #11  
Old 02 January 2019, 03:43 PM
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I'm not calling 'bad history' fake news, exactly. I'm saying that deliberately either putting false information into, or leaving significant true information out of, history books in order to present an entirely false impression is a form of fake news; and that this has indeed sometimes happened, and for that matter is still sometimes happening (consider the controversy about schoolbooks in Texas, for instance).

I don't see how that weakens the force of complaints about deliberate lies in current stories. It seems to me rather to strengthen that force.
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