Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sunday Night Live - Fake News Invasion 29 Jan

SNL is back! Post Truth Politics: 5pm, Sunday 29th Jan 2017 @GerrysKitchenST   

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Sunday Night Live 2017 

Post-Truth politics & ethics in the digital age

What is it, does it matter and what are the implications for progressive politics now? 

'In this era of post-truth politics, it's easy to cherry-pick data and come to whatever conclusion you desire’ 
Oxford English Dictionary

'Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts'
The late NY Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihant

In this so-called ‘Post-Truth’ age, objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion over appeals to emotion and personal belief. We witnessed the cold reality of this with Brexit last year. More recently, the election of Donald Trump as US President is a seen as who since his inauguration last Friday has a Press Secretary already pushing ‘alternative facts’ about crowd sizes at Capitol Hill.

While Post-Truth politics has been described as a contemporary problem, it has been a long-standing characteristic of political life, though less notable before the advent of the Internet. The idea of a post-truth era has been percolating through public discourse for at least a decade. In 2005, Stephen Colbert popularized the concept of “truthiness” to describe statements people feel are intuitively true - regardless of whether they are backed up by facts. Five years later, in a column for Grist, blogger David Roberts coined the phrase ‘post-truth politics’ suggesting voters were more likely to choose a party aligned with their identity and values, and consciously seek out evidence to support its proposals, rather than assess the facts and then choose a party.

The Internet clearly has had a flattening effect. Your best friend’s opinion on Facebook looks the same as a thoroughly sourced story. One person’s blog looks the same as an article in The Guardian. Then you have algorithms serving users content that aligns with their existing beliefs. Think about the echo chamber your Facebook space has become, and the way in which falsehoods and dubious claims rapidly spread.

So is it a problem? Well, the danger is that it serves to undermine informed civil discourse creating strong polarized online and offline communities with troubling effects. It also diminishes the place that ethics should play in our politics and amongst our political leaders who have a civic duty to tell us the truth. But whose truth do they promote and for what ends?

Consequently, this week’s Sunday Night Live - our first after a few months off  - will be discussing what can and should be done in response with an expert speaker who will help us critically navigate this challenging new terrain.  

Sunday Night Live
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