Don’t fake the news

Ever since Donald Trump became US president, it’s been my habit to do constant Google checks for any wayward sparks the gentleman may care to generate in the waking hours of his day. And he has been most obliging. Just hours ago, The Guardian online reported that Trump had tweeted “misleading photos” to suggest that his proposed 2,000-mile “wall” with Mexico was underway. How? Well, the guy simply tweeted images of work being done on a 2-mile stretch of barrier last month BEFORE Congress refused to fully fund the wall’s construction. In fact, Congress had since agreed to allot only US$1.6 billion for a project estimated to cost over $20 billion. In short, Trump was using images of work done on a 2-mile stretch to create the illusion of work done on a 2,000-mile stretch. (“Great briefing this afternoon on the start of our Southern Border WALL!” gushed the man)

In a week where fake news was very much in the news, Trump’s action showed that it is not just the media or ordinary netizens who are capable of faking the news. If it suits their purpose, governments and leaders are equally adept at online fabrications. Academic Dr Norman Vasu said at the public hearings of the Select Committee on deliberate online falsehoods that there are six categories of online falsehoods based on the degree of threat they pose, with disinformation aimed at undermining society topping the list. Under this categorisation, Trump’s misleading photos on the Great Wall of Mexico would probably rank somewhere near the bottom. But a fake is a fake, so shouldn’t Americans ask the president to take down the phony photos? Or must it really be sufficiently serious?  If so, who decides how serious? If it’s the government, then who will order a take-down if the government is behind the fake news (as in Trump’s case)?  

Fake news is a by-product of Internet technology. In the pre-Internet age, we only have to contend with rumours, spread by word of mouth, not click of mouse. Hence the attendant issues we now face have no precedent or proven solutions. But one thing remains the same. As in the past, the role of the government is a bone of contention. Activists claim we don’t need new laws as there are enough existing ones to deal with online falsehoods.  What is needed is greater public access to information and improved media literacy. Not so, says the government as it pointed to a poll last year indicating that over 90% of Singaporeans supported stronger laws to remove or correct fake news. Whatever it may be, there’s no faking that we are all in new territory and it’ll take us a while to get it right.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

"Not so, says the government as it pointed to a poll last year indicating that over 90% of Singaporeans supported stronger laws to remove or correct fake news."

90% of survey? How reliable? Can this be fake news?

1. What kind of survey? What is the quantity of the sample? What were the questions asked? How were the questions asked? Who were the people participating in the survey? Educated highly, lowly or unequated; well-informed or ignorant commoners in the street; lawyers, parliamentarians, civil servants, army boys, undergrads, students, taxi drivers, policemen, or a cross-section of the public?

2. Were these details presented before claiming that 90% support?

3. Even if really 90% "supported", how did they agreed to support? Full support, partial support, marginal support, doubtful support, conditional support, or support with strong reservations? Or simply mixed them together as full support?

4. Surveys specially tailored to achieve a high degree of acceptance will get a result to that effect. On the other hand, surveys specially tailored to achieve a high percentage of disapproval will also get a result to that effect.

5. Results of surveys can be interpreted according to how the interpreter wanted the receiveing audience/public to respond.

6. Of all liars, statistics is the greatest liar because the devil is in the details. And no interpreter will ever show the details to the extent that others can refute his interpretation and tear his "findings" to pieces.

7. Never take surveys / polls at face value. Always ask to examine the details.


It is a no-brainer to accept or believe in any survey/poll that simply throws out a figure to support an argument or excuse, in order to influence public opinion.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...
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Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

All these control freaks are talking out of their collective arseholes. They create this "mass panic" over nothing, as if "fake news" is some new scourge that is likely to end modern civilization.

"Fake news" is simply a result of one of human nature's truly remarkable features (it's a feature, not a bug)—the individual human's capacity to lie, deceive, trick, cheat, confuse, distract other humans for some perceived benefit, gain or advantage.

Fake News is simply a term coined by Donald J Trump during his presidential campaign; a term he used frequently to dis his enemies in the main stream media who were hell-bent on preventing him from even smelling the inside of the Oval Office. And it proved very effective.

So IMO, the use of the term Fake News to discredit some newsworthy claim is actually MORE POWERFUL than the alleged 'fake news' itself.
If you want supporting evidence that we live in a bat-shit insane, topsy-turvy world...there you have it...yet another confirmatory data point.

Governments, and every tyrant in power has relied on Fake News to ensure their heinous tenure. How are you going to keep the masses of conquered people down if you don't have Fake News in your arsenal of tools and weapons for social control and territorial domination?

It is IMPOSSIBLE to get rid of Fake News now that we all have the internet on our phones. China has tried to mind-control its citizens by banning VPNs and proxies, Facebook, Twitter etc. How effective do you reckon that has been?

They have over 2000 universities and colleges churning out over 20 million graduates every year (and the trend is upwards), not counting the millions of Chinese students all over the rest of the world. A huge portion of these numbers are in STEM degrees, and they score highly in cognitive tests right across the spectrum.

Do you really think that The Great Firewall of China is going to stop these young people from using the internet any which way they can? 🤪

But here's the thing:

If any government bans its citizens from creating Fake News, WHO IS going to stop the government from using Fake News to oppress and control the citizens?

Be prepared for the “GENIUS ANSWER” :

The government will police itself.
The government's integrity is beyond reproach.
The government therefore will never, ever use Fake News” 😂🤣

If you believe that, you've just been a victim of.... ❓


屌你老母! 😡🤬💩☠️

Anonymous said...

Surprise is one of the main Principles of War. How do you achieve surprise without Deception, Ruse, Camouflage and Feins (Fake News)?

To win a war without fighting is the Supreme Art of War. How do you win a war without fighting if you don't employ Diplomacy and Deception?

Even in business, you can apply the Principles of War.

Even in politics, you can apply the Principles of War.

Even in your daily life of commoners, you can make use of the Principles of War to achieve a win-win relationship with your family members, friends, colluagues, acquaintances and government officials.

Why must laws be enacted to allow only the government to employ all the Principles of War to its advantages and punish others who use them for the same reasons that the government is or will be using?

To do so is nothing but Arrogance, Bullying, Suppresion, Oppression and Tyranny in the Highest Order.

P/S: The Principles of War are:

1. Selection.
Selection of best available options and Maintenance of Aim.

2. Morale.
Morale of both fighters and supporting forces must be high at all time.

3. Offense.
Offensive actions and aggressiveness execution.

4. Surprise.
Surprise is to be maintained till the very last minute, especially for the main decisive attack.

5. Speed.
Speed is the essence of success in maneouvres and offensive/defensive actions.

6. Concentration.
Concentration of forces and fire power on the weakest point of the opposing forces.

7. Economy.
Economize on casulties, logistics and collateral damages.

8. Flexibility.
Always have alternative plans to give you flexibility in the employment, deployment and maneouvres of your available forces.

9. Deception.
Make use of deception, ruse, fein and camouflage at every instance possible, so as to achieve Surprise.

10. Intelligence.
Know your enemy, know yourself. Know the weather, know the area of operation. Know the timing, know the space. A million battles, a million victorues.

To fore-see is to be fore-warned. Foresight needs Knowledge.

Knowledge is Power.

Power is King. King is the Ruler. The Ruler calls the shots.

The shots are fired by the subjects, not the Ruler. But if the calls are made wrongly, the shots backfire. And the King is as good as Dead.

To help you recall the Principles of War, remember this sentence:

"Senior Medical Officer Saw Sexy Concubine Enter Foxes' Den Indiscreetly."

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

Actually in the political realm, Saul David Alinsky's 13 (or 12...depending on your source) Rules For Radicals is more suited to what's going on. With a little bit of Nicolo Machiavelli thrown in for good measure.

Sun Tzu and Von Clausewitz are great for the military stuff...when you're dealing with an armed, trained and logistically-supported and in most cases almost equal enemy. In the political realm, power is concentrated at the top. The folks who are not at the top are already at a significant disadvantage.

Just my 2 cents...