News and “Fake” News

We should be clear about one thing: “news” is a commercial product, like toothpaste or chewing gum. It is also designed more or less according to the same principles and with few exceptions “sold” by the same kind of hawkers.

The term “fake news” has one effect which many apparently do not understand– it implies that there is news which is not “fake”.

It might be useful to consider how advertising works– news is a form of advertising. A product is announced with “less sugar” or even with “zero sugar”. I think everyone here can imagine the products to which I am referring. Of course the “less sugar” or “zero sugar” seem like positive qualities. But in the products concerned the difference is like saying “gentler slavery” or “zero whipping” of slaves. It begs the question whether the product that has less or none of some currently fashionable “negative content” is in and of itself a desirable product.

Is a mystery liquid sold as a beverage– originally with addictive cocaine– virtuous or more virtuous by reducing its official sugar content?

Is “news product” — actually an advertising vehicle from its very inception– better when it is not “fake”?

The luxury goods business spends an appreciable amount of money lobbying for police interdiction of counterfeit products. However, all industry insiders know that counterfeiting is beneficial advertising for the “real” goods. If the counterfeits were entirely eliminated it would devalue those very brands. The contrast between “real” luxury goods and “fakes” is part of the vanity the promotes the brand as such.

In the same way when people of whatever political persuasion complain about “fake news” their pleas in fact support the illusion that the “news” per se is not fake. In fact there is no objective news. Moreover the news items are actually destructive since they are designed to undermine the notion of necessary information, i.e. historical background and context to interpret events or facts that are to be understood as events.

“Conspiracy theory” as a pejorative is really an attack not on “news” which is actually senseless but on any attempt to establish context, historical or otherwise, for data that needs interpretation. The “news” is a TV dinner packaged as if it were a Lego kit. If you spread all the Lego pieces on your table and have never seen the box, it will certainly take a while to build what is intended. You might build something else. But a TV dinner needs no box. Rip off the foil and you have the reconstituted turkey product with all the artificial ingredients, clearly separated in the aluminum tray. The big compartment is the meat, the smaller ones are for potatoes and veg. If you prefer to cook your own meals then you are a conspiracy theorist…


Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Dr T.P. Wilkinson writes, teaches History and English, directs theatre and coaches cricket between the cradles of Heine and Saramago. He is also the author of Church Clothes, Land, Mission and the End of Apartheid in South Africa

Comment on Global Research Articles on our Facebook page

Become a Member of Global Research

Articles by: Dr. T. P. Wilkinson

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article. The Centre of Research on Globalization grants permission to cross-post Global Research articles on community internet sites as long the source and copyright are acknowledged together with a hyperlink to the original Global Research article. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: [email protected] contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of "fair use" in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than "fair use" you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: [email protected]