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Moral Panic Over Fake News Hides the Real Enemy – the Digital Giants


Moral Panic Over Fake News Hides the Real Enemy – the Digital Giants

Evgeny Morozov

Democracy is drowning in fake news. This is the latest reassuring conclusion drawn by those on the losing side of 2016, from Brexit to the US elections to the Italian referendum.



While monetizing fake news is a problem, it's not the core problem. The core problem is that people continue to believe the lie even after it's been shown to be a lie, like the Pope endorsing Trump.

Once again, we're told that economics, not bigotry, drove Trump's success, but that's demonstrably false.Trump did NOT win among those who have the least. A look at the median income of Trump voters shows that his supporters are doing better than average.

Politifact and Snopes are dismissed by the right as liberal fake news sites. Go and interact with them. They're not hard to find. You can easily verify this for yourselves.

I think a better analysis is that the Trump tribe wants the other side to lose. Who is the other side? Everyone who isn't on their side. They lump them all together, so Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Black Lives Matters, feminists, and anyone they can label as "SJW" all represent one united group.

It's not about them winning, it's about "liberals" losing. That's all they really want.

Why do people believe the lies? Because they want to hurt the other side. It's an emotional, not an intellectual, position.

Take away the ability to monetize the lies and they'll still keep believing them, or have decades of right-wing hate radio taught us nothing at all about how these people are? They are reactionaries, first and foremost, and can easily shift postions as the "liberals" change. Even Net Neutrality, the one issue that seemed to unite everyone against the capitalists, has now been turned into a partisan issue among the people (it always was in DC).

So no, the brocialist analysis here just doesn't cut it with me.



"At the same time, we need to delegate more decision-making power to citizens – rather than the easily corruptible experts and venal corporations." Perhaps this could work in urban areas, but I have my doubts. Out here in the rural sticks it would simply give the tea party types more power. I believe we simply have to hope that the great, moderate middle of political humanity will usually make the better decision, and when they do not, hopefully we can muddle through without extreme calamity.


Vox, do you suppose people will continue to believe piss flowed in Russia even if that is not actually the truth?


Some would, probably. The difference being that it wouldn't be used as propaganda by most on the Left (at least, I hope it wouldn't be), which is very much unlike what happens on the right repeatedly.

Regarding the dossier, I'm keeping an open mind about it. I don't know how valid it is, though I suspect that some of the things in it are true. I'd very much like to see the two page memo given to Obama about it, because I think it probably details what the US IC has high confidence it. Things that are judged to have no value don't generally make it to the president, any president.

I posted this link yesterday, I believe, but it's an interesting look at how Russian kompromat works:


Thanks, Vox, Heard on the radio yesterday about kompromat so will definitely read this.
I have spent some time (not so recently though) in Russia and several of the former soviet states, so I have no problem taking Russia and lingering kgb influence seriously. Putin is playing Trump, it seems.


"Digital capitalism"? WTF?


Capitalists extract/exploit resources, seems like extracting/extorting digitally those old fashioned capitalists is just the evolution of greed.


That's what I was thinking. Where is the RAGE from Obama and everyone else about the LIES and distortion of the MSM on the d*mn television set!!?? I have a bad feeling all this hype about being angry about Fake News on-line is to shut down and control the internet. Without the internet, we have little source of the TRUTH.


The only news we need is what is broadcast on the telescreen -- anything else is doubleplus bad, at least that's what the trustworthy ruling class keeps saying.


--which is sure many of the ruling class would want to control. Basically, if you aren't toeing the corporate line, then it's "fake news" and therefore will be deemed "illegal."

Even if there are whistleblowers, prison strikes, DAPL protests, war protestors, we'll never hear about any of it. You think Sanders didn't get any coverage last year? --we'll never hear a peep from him ever again.


You oversimplify the workings of the "ruling class," whatever that means. Different folks have different agendas. Trying to get too simplistic misses the totality. For instance, we did hear a "peep" from Sanders last night on the MSM (Chris Hayes-MSNBC).


You weren't paying attention to my post or it's context.


"Fake News" has ever been the way the 1 percent both gain and entrench their power. In the War Of 1812 in order to drum up support for the War on Britain the US sent people into Kentucky that suggested to the Citizens living there that the British had allied with the Natives and that the Natives were committing mass rape and murder against white women and children.

In the War Against Spain in 1898 fake news was used about Spanish perfidy in order to generate support for that war with "Remember the Maine" headlines.

This hardly exclusive to the USA as from Germany to Britain , from Russia to Iran the ruling class throughout history has used "fake news" and lies in order to start wars or to entrench their own power. All of this was happening long before there a digital age.

What HAS that one percent concerned is not that the people will not get the facts. What has them concerned is that with the internet they are no longer the ones that CONTROL that flow of news be it truth or fiction , speculation or fact. That ability has been extended to the masses and is a direct threat to their power.


Yes, but today's right wingers have worked long and hard to bring their message and manufacture their news to their base worker bees, who spread the facts, rumors and lies by e-mail, facebook, etc, as if they were facts or at least near certainties. This endless barrage ( and it is) leads many moderates to even begin to believe. Every day we see posts here at CD, from supposed lefties, who have been at least partially brain washed by the endless propaganda. And I'm not even talking about those who see no difference between Hillary and Trump (or perhaps I am).


Which has resulted in the truth and lies in essence being "democratized" rather then being the exclusive domain of the 1 percent.

This need not be seen as a bad thing.

I would use just as example that article about Grassy Narrows. The people living there just as with those living downstream of those tarsands plants in Alberta have long claimed their health compromised by all of the pollution. Without access to the internet this information would be limited to a small few. As long as the one percent was in control of the information flow , little concern would occur among the public at large..

The concerns those peoples raised were dismissed as "hysteria" and not supported by science.

For every access to faked stuff such as Barack is a Muslim shut down there will be as much access to the truth shut down and I am not convinced establishing control over access a good thing.


Yes, even with the potential downsides we must maintain a free and open Internet. I am reminded that I did think twice, a year ago, when I wanted to google "urge to kill." My wife thought it a bad idea, but I did it anyway (It was an oft used phrase in a Sunday comic strip when I was a kid),


Very interesting article. More of this standard, please, CD.


According to business commentators the good news is that wages are up for the first time in many years----they fail to point out that the reason for this increase is the fact that people have been fighting to raise the minimum wage. And I am sure these same business people were against raising the minimum wage.

A co-worker(both of us near minimum wage) said yea but everything will now go up. I did point out to him that prices have been going up for years without these increases.

Before the start of the presidential election TPP came up as a topic on the Lawrence O'Donnell show. A New York Times reporter said average people don't care about TPP---its a boring issue. O'Donnell himself seemed confused that people like Bernie Sanders were against the TPP. The TPP and Clinton's support of NAFTA most likely cost her the election.