What follows is Null Pointer’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Fake News Watch 2: The Missing Mask”.
The Introduction to it is here.
The media transformation from relatively accurate reporting to lying about everything has been a sight to behold. It was an incremental process that started with bias and evolved into just making stuff up.
The media started out by omitting a fact or two they didn’t like from coverage. No need to confuse anyone with extraneous data that might be interpreted wrongly. The media has a duty to keep people informed with easily interpretable information.
This bias led to the next bias stage, which entailed neglecting to cover stories that were inconvenient to a narrative. People don’t need to know everything. They only need to know the important things. If you report unimportant things, people might get distracted from the important things. The media has a duty to keep people informed of all the important things and they cannot do that if people are distracted by unimportant things.
Then the media started adding opinions to straight news articles and presenting them as fact so people wouldn’t get confused. You have to explain to people why the facts they are looking at don’t say what a normal person would think they say, you see. It is important to be clear. Clarity is important when informing people of things! You cannot just tell people the facts, you need to explain them. Otherwise people might have opinions that conflict with the truth. Then they might question the truth, and questions lead to confusion and misinformation. Confused, misinformed people don’t know the truth. The media has a duty to inform people of the truth.
Next came taking things out of context to reinforce desired narratives and attack undesirable truths. The moral truth is the truth, so the context is whatever the moral truth says it is, and whatever actually happened is irrelevant. No one needs to worry about what actually happened, they need to worry about the moral truth, and the media has a duty to provide that moral truth by any means necessary.
Following that was the trend of getting someone to lie to a reporter, then report the lies as if they were truth. These people told the moral truth, so it was true regardless of anything else that might be inaccurate. Inaccurate but morally true is the same as truth when it serves the moral good. The lie serves the moral good, and that is a fact that makes all other facts subordinate to the main morally good truth, which puts them in context and clarifies things. Clarity is good because it prevents misinformation and lies. The media has a duty to provide morally good truth to the people.
After that, the media started skipping the step of getting someone to lie, and just started using non-existent “anonymous” sources who “told” the lies instead, which were also reported as truth. Why should they wait for someone to tell the morally good truth. Morally good truth is always true, regardless of whether anyone says it or not. The media has a duty to tell the morally good truth to people, so it is justified and good to have hypothetical people saying morally true things on the front page of the New York Times.
Now we have reached the point of outright making things up because they are probably true according to the voices in some reporters head, they are morally good and no one has stopped them yet.
Once you can essentially lie by taking things out of context and twisting them around to mean things they don’t mean, what is to stop you from just making things up entirely to tell the story you want to tell? You are already lying, why not take it a bit further? Why not invent a source and say what you think they ought to say? Then, once you are making stuff up, why not go one step further and just start printing whatever you can imagine? Who cares about the actual truth?