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Off-topic: Does fake news actually make a difference in politics?

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This bears on the question of whether human beings can apprehend reality. Top naturalists are dedicated to the opposite view. Much politicking around freedom of the media depends on whether one believes that humans can apprehend reality and make choices based on information therefrom.

From O’Leary for News at MercatorNet:

It wasn’t so much fake news as *missed* news. … The internet changes a great deal but it does not change the fundamental nature of reality. One small Atlanta-based pollster sensed that the military wife or the WalMart manager might not wish to risk humiliation, even in the abstract, by giving an honest opinion. So he asked his respondents who they thought their neighbours would vote for. He called the big contest right while major polling firms got it embarrassingly wrong. … Put another way, it wasn’t the fault of the Russians or fake news that knowing who watched Duck Dynasty better predicted the 2016 election outcome than knowing how Bush did in 2000. More.

See also: Part I: What is fake news? Do we believe it? Most people learn to detect fake news, provided that they are familiar with the medium.

Evolution bred a sense of reality out of us


Evolutionary biologist: Humans evolved to need coercion

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I wasn’t going to vote in the U.S. Presidential election this year because I was disgusted with both major party candidates, as well as political process in general. However, I changed my mind at the last minute, in part, because of the letter F.B.I. Director James Comey released in late Oct. which reopened the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. Since last summer I had been reading former U.S. Prosecutor Andrew McCarthy’s articles about the laws that Mrs. Clinton appeared, based on public record, to have violated. McCarthy personally knows and has worked with some the main some of the main players: F.B.I. Director Jim Comey, as well as, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. McCarthey is baffled how both the F.B.I. and the Justice Dept. under Loretta Lynch has handled (or maybe mishandled) the investigation into Clinton’s emails. Recently he wrote:
“Throughout the criminal investigations of Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information, the Obama Justice Department would not use the grand jury or help the FBI obtain search or surveillance warrants. As a result, the FBI had no power to compel the production of evidence. Suspects had to be cajoled into cooperating. The only thing the Justice Department was willing to do was grant highly unusual immunity deals, ensuring that suspects could not be prosecuted if they disclosed incriminating evidence… Only the Justice Department has the power to open a grand-jury investigation. That would have enabled the FBI, by using grand-jury subpoenas, to demand access to the devices in order to do its own examination. Or, if exigent circumstances dictated seizing evidence rather than asking for its production, the FBI would have needed the Justice Department’s assistance to compose a search-warrant application and present it to a U.S. district judge for approval.”
Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/443845/obama-justice-department-political This is not fake news and it wasn’t fake news when the story first broke in 2015. Yet the mainstream media has virtually given Hillary Clinton a complete pass. At least they did not do the kind of in depth journalism that McCarthy has done in his articles-- but I am not going to go into that further here. Clinton herself said right after the election that she thought that the Comey letter was responsible for her last minute drop in the polls. I would have to agree with her there, because it affected the way I voted, or rather it caused me to change my mind about voting. Again this was not “fake news.” However, now everyone (well, primarily the Democrats and the MSM) have decided to move the goal posts. Now we are being told that the reason Clinton lost was Russian hacking and fake news. However, now I am confused. Did the Russian hacking create some fake news that undermined the Clinton candidacy? What were these fake news stories and what kind of subversive, scandalous claims did they make? For example, in my personal case the Comey letter, had an effect on how I voted. But that is not a fake news story and I can point to some printed content and say this, this and this is why I decided to vote the way I did. But what exactly were the fake news stories which had such a widespread effect that they undermined Clinton’s candidacy? Even if they are fake they should have some kind of content which makes some bogus claims. So what are the stories and claims do they make? I suspect all this coverage of fake news by the MSM is, well, fake news. It doesn’t give me much faith in the mainstream media. john_a_designer

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