Thursday, December 1, 2016

SOLVING THE PROBLEM OF FAKE NEWS; New Yorker, 11/30/16

Nicholas Lemann, New Yorker; SOLVING THE PROBLEM OF FAKE NEWS:
"What we are now calling fake news—misinformation that people fall for—is nothing new. Thousands of years ago, in the Republic, Plato offered up a hellish vision of people who mistake shadows cast on a wall for reality. In the Iliad, the Trojans fell for a fake horse. Shakespeare loved misinformation: in “Twelfth Night,” Viola disguises herself as a man and wins the love of another woman; in “The Tempest,” Caliban mistakes Stephano for a god. And, in recent years, the Nobel committee has awarded several economics prizes to work on “information asymmetry,” “cognitive bias,” and other ways in which the human propensity toward misperception distorts the workings of the world.
What is new is the premise of the conversation about fake news that has blossomed since Election Day: that it’s realistic to expect our country to be a genuine mass democracy, in which people vote on the basis of facts and truth, as provided to them by the press."

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