Donald Trump showed that the media is helpless against a bald-faced lie proudly stated, and the Liberal party under Scott Morrison has applied the lesson so well you would almost suggest that lying was an innate ability of those within the party.
This from the Guardian columnist is an opinion, it is what he is paid to generate. Only many would agree that it is true. Politicians everywhere are tapping into an innate ability to tell porkies. The POTUS just made it past 20,000 for his first term.
‘Proud lying’ is a profound oxymoron that cannot be a good thing especially because the people are as helpless against it as the media.
There is something going on in this post-truth world where we are more likely to give in to our emotions than to question what triggered them.
The definition of post-truth is as relating to a situation in which people are more likely to accept an argument based on their emotions and beliefs, rather than one based on facts.
What on earth went wrong.
When did the school kid, who was told facts and learnt from the books that were written in good faith on what was known at the time and wrote down the facts in exams, not need to know those facts anymore? When did it become acceptable to not only lie but to believe a lie?
This is a subtle point.
It is one thing to lie. That takes a certain moral code or lack of one and to lie well, with conviction and believability, that takes a certain lack of empathy because those lies are going to hurt people. But we know these people exist, we call them psychopaths.
It takes something else to believe the lies. What makes people ignore the truth, deny the facts and accept the bald-faced lies? One reason could be that their insecurity is so deep that they are unable to cope with uncomfortable truths. Another could be the need to feel great and when the liar is geeing everything up and giving you a great feeling, why not run with that.
Then there is cognitive dissonance — the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioural decisions and attitude change — where internal conflict produces a feeling of mental discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviours to reduce the discomfort and restore balance.
I will believe the lie because it makes me feel better.
This believing in the lie is as big a problem as the lies, if not the problem.
A liar only gets what they need if there is a believer at the end of it. So the populist leaders who are lying through their teeth all the time are still doing it because there are people who respond to those lies.
The solution to this problem is not to berate the media for following the public and giving them what they seem to want. Remember the media is in it for the profit. Clicks and eyeballs make a profit, so the media simply does what it takes to get them.
Also worth remembering is why clicks and eyeballs make a profit. It leads people to goods and services that other people want them to buy. That is still the commercial model where marketing makes sales.
People like to berate that too but that is the commercial model and has been since forever.
No, the solution to all the lies is to get off the couch and go click somewhere else.
Become a sceptic.
Don’t believe them.
Don’t give them your eyeballs and your clicks.
Please pass this on to your social networks. The world could do with a few more healthy sceptics.