The Oxford Dictionaries “word of the year” is post-truth. Irritating. This is a gift from Donald Trump who ran a post-truth campaign, but the origin goes back further. George W. Bush was known to repeat incorrect statements until they were perceived as truth.
Social media plays a role too.
Facebook is under fire for failing to rein in fake and biased news stories that some believe may have swayed the presidential election. Zeynep Tufekci in the New York Times says that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is in denial about Facebook’s role and responsibility.
I get it.
Post-truth is a logical result of soundbite communications. Once upon a time we all read newspapers, then came TV, then came the Internet. News and opinions at the speed of light. News cycles. We now know that 3 AM tweets are not a sign of a candidate unhinged. They were perceived as a positive appeal to voters who passionately want change. Right now it doesn’t matter if the tweets are actually true or not.
I get it and I hope it’s temporary. TV changed politics and the dialog. Same for helicopters by the way. In 1948 Lyndon Johnson was the first candidate to fly when he was running for Texas senator. He totally dominated the dialog by appearing to be everywhere all the time. Now we have tweets, posts and fake stories. Post-truth. I hope we next develop tools and routines for dividing the truth from the post-truth. I don’t mind the blast of real time messages. I’m against swaying from truth.