Obama: Selective sorting of facts threatens democracy

by Don Tagala, ABS-CBN News

 

CHICAGO, IL — In his farewell speech Jan. 10, outgoing President Barack Obama pointed out that selective sorting of facts or truths is self-defeating.

“It is one of the threats to democracy,” he said.

“Increasingly, we become so secure in our bubble, that we start accepting only information, whether it’s true or not, that fits our opinions; instead of basing our opinions on the evidence out there.”

Some political commentators may refer to this as “post-truth” politics, or the post-truth era.

The Oxford dictionary even chose “post-truth” as the word of the year in 2016.

According to the definition, “post-truth” is a political culture in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.

“Without some common baseline of facts, without a willingness to admit new information and concede that your opponent might be making a fair point…we’re gonna keep talking past each other, and make common ground impossible,” Obama said in his address.

 But Filipino journalist, author, and martial law survivor Ninotchka Rosca says there’s a simpler and more effective word for post-truth: a lie.

If you talk about post-truth, then you have been brainwashed into accepting reality that is not there,” Rosca said. “If it’s post truth then it is a lie. If it’s fake news, it’s a fabrication.” 

Security business and lifestyle expert Jessica Robinson says the appetite for selective truths brought about the lucrative business of fabricated news.

She says that while fake news has always been a part of the American experience widely seen in supermarket tabloids back in the day — the difference is that fake news today can be dangerous.

“What we’ve seen is that fake news articles can hurt. We’ve seen more harassment as a result of fake news,” Robinson told BA. i think it’s part of the reason why our country now feels so divided.”

And at times – fake or fabricated news may cause unintended real life consequences.

At this point, I do believe that it [fake news] affected the election,” Robinson said.

The President’s speech in Chicago turned out to be more than just a farewell address – but also a call to make America believe in facts and truths again.

 

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