The Politics of “Phony News”

J.J. Baloch


A few weeks earlier, officials in Malaysia affirmed new legislation which declared the spread false news as a crime and violators would be deserving of up to six years in jail. The fake story has turned into a worldwide issue that influences the centre of contemporary data innovation. It has gone from a charge flung amid an American political crusade to a point scoring global political talk.

The most recent couple of years in Pakistan have seen the transient development of phoney media crusades to defame adversaries. The pattern of media melodrama and gossip mongering isn’t new.  The culture of fake news started to bring its revolting head up in Pakistan since the day when the marvels like the doctrine of necessity, good governance, and the emergence of political insurgencies started.

Things got more convoluted when private Media empire extended bigger in the measure, size and impact than conventional government-controlled PTV channels in Pakistan and just a couple of daily papers in the last decades of the twentieth century. The second wave accompanied the appearance of online networking called “social media” in the first decade of the 21st century.

There is nothing new in misleading the general population in different countries through the fake news. It is at times fundamental, at times successful. What is new is the measure of data on the crowd that is accessible, the capacity to Spotify the group of onlookers to more refined degrees, and the opportunity to reach a massive gathering of people requiring little to no effort.

The famous anchor person, Mr Shahid Masood claimed an association of the primary accused person of Zainab Rape and a Murder case with the global network of child pornography. However, Mr Shahid flopped gravely to prove even an iota of his claims which further caused embarrassment and inconvenience for the whole media industry. The incident of fake news did not happen the first time. News coverage is accepted to be the unique calling of disentangling truth by thorough examinations and given confirmation, not through talk, purposeful publicity, and phoney news things.

The expression “fake news” entered American political discourse amid the 2016 electoral race between the two Democrats and Republicans presidential candidates charging each other and the media with creating false news. From that point forward, there have been innumerable stories about how public opinions are controlled for quick political pick up. In Pakistan, the news falsity culture crept into the ethics of reporting in the late fifties and then kept rising with no dive down ever after. Fake news journey saw many fluctuations of cruel time and faced severe jerks of the circumstances but reached its pinnacle and boom in the 21st century.

In Pakistan, the ongoing Intra-media turf wars between the BOL media group versus main leading channels and newspapers including Geo and Jang group is something that unmistakably exposes the inside truth of how media operates and manufactures news. Media owner Mir Shakeel admitted in the top court that he is in the business of “selling the news”. However, news of sale does not bound the news businessmen necessarily to sale truth in the garb of news.

The business of selling or telling truth is the bitterest of all human experiences. While on the contrary, selling lies have been the most lucrative industry with all-time high returns, so believe many traders of sensationalism and popular sensitivities. Pitching against the foe using the counterfeit mechanisms can be more convenient than bringing forth some reliable evidence. A month ago, a counselling firm called Cambridge Analytica obtained Facebook client information and utilised it to endeavour to impact voters in the run-up to the electoral facing off.

The false news could likewise just be called “lying,” something that has been a piece of political culture as far back as there were political societies. In 1940, amid the presidential battle, Franklin Roosevelt said that the United States would not get associated with a European war, even as the U.S. Furthermore, British military authorities were laying in their anticipations about how to wage such a war.

In 1960, Dwight Eisenhower asserted that a climate look into airship was shot down finished Soviet airspace when as a general rule it was a U-2 spy plane. John F. Kennedy charged that the Eisenhower organisation’s carelessness had enabled the Soviets to surge ahead in the number of rockets they made. Was this not valid, as well as Kennedy knew it wasn’t accurate, but he continued to grapple the falsity to damage his opponent politically. That is perhaps the reason that the critiques of democracy in the 21st claim that “the politics is transforming to “the art of lies” from its classical claim of being the “art of liberties”.

Lyndon Johnson, amid the 1964 war, pursued a battle to persuade general society that Barry Goldwater was probably going to begin an atomic war since he was rationally shaky. At that point, Goldwater supporters spread paranoid notions that Johnson had John F. Kennedy killed.

In the similar vein, the British planted a story amid World War I that the Germans were utilising Belgian bodies to make the cleanser. Amid Stalin’s slaughter in the 1930s, Purposeful Soviet publicity persuaded numerous in the West that the Soviet Union was achieving new statures of prosperity.

The Western savvy people like Jean-Paul Sartre, driven by the charisma of Mao in China started to laud what was going on in China and began to wear Mao’s suits to symbolise their help for China. However, this was what they told to their respective societies they believed but as a matter of fact, they were pretending and counterfeiting everything to exert pressure on the regime in power in their home country to get their things done more conveniently and their political demands accepted irresistibly.

Lying on political issues isn’t new, nor is the act of spreading bits of gossip to accomplish certain finishes. So there is nothing new and significant about what’s occurring today in Pakistan and abroad regarding false media propaganda for gains and ratings. It was perhaps the trends of banking upon pure and simple falsity that many reporters multiplied lies with the concocted claims of Dr Shahid and came up with a series of more innovative lies by fictionalising the story of Zainab’s killer to the highest levels of intrigue and conspiracy.

The politics in Pakistan has seen commercialisation through democratisation during recent decades, claim many analysts. Recent years have seen mega data leaks like Panama papers which have caused many new debates to emerge about the human relationship with social institutions, most notably the state and government. The graft scams and compromising national public interests at the altar of personal gains have come out to be one of the leading characteristics of human hybrid personalities in the twenty-first century. Unlike in the past when people had one personality and one identity, the people in the 21st century have more than one faces, characters and figures which get auto-on as per the situation.

The politicians as well as the journalists claim no exemption but are instead proven to be the leaders in developing multiple characters. The hybrid culture of many mirror faces for himself or herself, one face for family, one look for friends and neighbours, one face for general public or society as a whole and other for the international community, was rare few decades and centuries back. Politics has emerged the most lucrative business in both the developing as well as the developed countries. No country can claim exemption to this trend of ethical and political decay of global scale. Pakistan seems to be hard hit by everything no-2 from all aspects of life including massive cheating.

Roosevelt did not require scientific examination to know how to oversee general assessment. It was in his temperament. Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan all comprehended general society, and the control of successful conclusion began there. In their circumstances, the leader was personally bound to people in general. So they concentrated reading minds and hearts of the people whereby they could be in a better place to manipulate the masses towards their political ends.

Something that is moderately new is the merger of marketing and decisions. Contemporary selling of items and administrations rose to full power after World War II. Marketing mannerism is not quite the same as publicising, obviously. Publicizing has been around perpetually and is primarily intended to pitch an item to general society. Advertising dismembers the general population into various sections and recognises approaches to approach those fragments and force them to buy an article. Marketing involves ‘persuasion’ while publicising focus of ‘declaration or revelation’. Organizations have done this for quite a while. What showcasing did was convey a level of accuracy to distinguishing suckers and what will persuade them to purchase something that they may not require or even need.

The presentation of advertising philosophies made it conceivable to oversee general sentiment indifferently. Promoting can transform an issue or competitor into a product and shape individuals’ impression of it. While pioneers beforehand created their particular personas, making them more real and along these lines viable, marketing is currently used to configuration pioneers’ personas for them. Genuineness is lost and with it the nature of initiative and excellent specialist over issues. Individuals have dependably been pessimistic on political matters, yet the watchful making of the picture of pioneers and issues has made a level of vulnerability in present-day political life.

The handmaiden of promoting has been publicising and advertising. The objective was to shape important conclusion as well as to form the media that conveyed the news and affected general feeling.  Public Nuisance was a troublesome undertaking. Promoting is amazingly costly and this points of confinement on its utilisation. Forming news stories was considerably harder. Editors controlled the substance, and they were hard to induce on a colossal scale. Also, there were various daily papers and systems, a considerable lot of which were one-sided, yet the predispositions offset.

The absolute most essential normal for online promoting is that it is shoddy and can reach vast quantities of individuals. Hillary Clinton collected large measures of cash. Donald Trump didn’t. He utilised the web strongly while Hillary Clinton concentrated on conventional media. When we take a gander at Cambridge Analytica, we see promoting on steroids – or if nothing else an endeavour at it. Through Facebook, the organisation got information that had a specificity inaccessible to more traditional promoting techniques. It permitted the Trump battle to recognise targets, contact them with particularly successful messages, and have those messages be sent to and seen by a massive number of individuals.

The facts accuracy of digital media is far better than the traditional media. Social media not only reach the massive audience in real time but its dialogue model enables people to converse with the people and know their priorities as well as thought patterns through vast databases of IDs and face recognisers and photograph readers. The domain of artificial intelligence is the golden opportunity for political victory as it enables the political leader to make a fairer assessment of what people like, need, and dream.

Some observe the web or internet has a significant democratising power. In any case, the issue is that the democratising component of the social media was quickly distinguished as an open door for advertisers of products and enterprises and later for politicians. The general population separated into clans assaulted by various sources. Having contrasts of feeling is a piece of a robust majority rule government. However, the distinctions were stark to the point of creating wide gaps among different groups. Division and inequality smashed the political culture of democracy and egalitarian society by exposing the biggest tensions between the democracy and capitalism.

Geopolitical expert Robert Friedman argues that “Many have been obsessed with the increasing costs of political campaigns. But with the rise of internet marketing and social media, this will be less of a concern. The internet has democratised politics. And this is what the founders feared. Its why they created a republic, not a democracy.” The kind of democracy we have in Pakistan is more likely to grow in information anarchy due to the absence of well-thought-out social media policy guidelines and well established regulatory regimes.

The writer is a novelist and senior Police Officer


Author: PublicPolicyInsights

With MSc Criminal Justice Policy from London School of Economics, London, UK, J. J Baloch has 20 years of work experience. He has worked in National Bank of Pakistan as officer grade 2 from 1995 to 2000. From 2000 till date He is working at Police Service of Pakistan. As an author he has published three books: Introduction to sociology, 2000; On the Art of Writing Essays, 2016; and The Power of Social Media & Policing Challenges, 2016. On 17 March 2017 J.J. Baloch is launching his first novel: "Whiter Than White: The Daughter of The Land of Pure" which is being published by Matador publication from the UK. Besides this, he regularly blogs on Google, Facebook. He also writes articles in English newspaper Dawn and also in some other magazines.

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