POST TRUTH AGE Paid News, Fake News & Alternative News

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POST TRUTH AGE  Paid News, Fake News & Alternative News

Trump elections & Brexit marks the  consolidation of the Post Truth age.  Completely new manifestations of media, which was at best at the periphery, not acceptable to the mainstream, established itself.  These are paid news, fake news & alternative news, though having distinct peculiarities,  also share some commonalities. The story of the social media is just unfolding but has already shown all the three visible trends.

 Paid news  seems to be of India origin. “It refers to the  systematic engagement of mainstream media outlets in publishing favourable articles in exchange for payment.”  Election Commission of India since 2009-10 keeps a surveillance on political parties indulging in paid news.  One of the leading newspapers group asked celebrities / wealthy to pay for favourable coverage.  They offered what is now termed  private treaty”  agreement; an equity stake in a company in return for favourable coverage.  Paid news can distort public choice.

 Fake news , is an extreme manifestation of yellow journalism, spreading misinformation & hoaxes through traditional print, electronic or social media. It aims to mislead; the gains can be financial or political.  It often goes with sensationalist, exaggerated, or patiently false news to grab headlines.  It’s completely distinct from satire or parody which has humour at its core.

 Alternative news  is another genre of this age. Seems positive on the face is it. Mainstream media, it is alleged, are great at reporting  “on the surface understanding of surface issues.”  They mainly indulge in accidents, crime, war & political stories.  If one really wants to investigate & comprehend what is actually going on in the world & more so why, you have to go beyond the mainstream media.  Lots of these “alternative” news & information outlets are doing yeomen service towards that purpose. Some of them are  Wake Up World, Global Research, Activist Post & exist online.


 Sanjay Sahay

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