Chapter 29: Fake News
Fake news is a neologism often used to refer to fabricated news. This type of news, found in traditional news, or fake news websites, has no basis in fact, but is presented as being factually accurate.
As we see, if we ignore the inevitable padding in the articles, the only attempts at presentation of ‘facts’ are simply inaccurate, or wrong. Given that the authors have all the resources of their own legal departments and researchers, proof readers and sub-editors, these examples of False News can be classed as downright lies. And furthermore, lies told with a specific intent, which makes them more sinister. The manipulation of the public’s credulity by the Press may however be coming to a close. The internet allows people to do their own ‘research’, and to cross check the facts against many other sources. But the traditional dead-tree press continue to blunder on in the way they always have, secure in the delusion that they will be believed. Increasingly they seem to be using a desperate form of self-justification to add an air of authority as in “I have been reporting on this case for 10 years and I can say . . . .” or “I was first on the scene . . . ” with the phrase “. . and therefore know more than you do” implied. One notable example is the free newspaper circulating in southern Spain - ”The Olive Press”. The proprietor, who was once a decent investigative journalist, wrote the obligatory 10 year anniversary article, which also appears on the on-line version. In the article he repeats the following “Facts”.
When I arrived at about 11.45am I was firstly able to walk into the apartment, where I introduced myself to the McCanns and told them I would do everything I could to help. The only reporter on the scene till late that evening – apart from Sky News reporter Kate Burley, who happened to be on holiday there – I spent time grilling neighbours..
.. I inadvertently found myself interviewing a former nightclub bouncer in Huelva, who claimed he knew who snatched Maddie. A huge Angolan chap, he told me she had been taken on order and was now, most l likely, in America. We double checked his credentials, ran it past Maddie’s family and published a carefully worded and, I believe, sensitive piece, which then of course got picked up by the Sun to be splashed on its front page. Not so sensitively. (1)
... I approached the crowd of onlookers, tried to be close to the British journalists, listening what they were talking about. As it happens with most British coming to Portugal (and don’t take me wrong, I don’t want to be offensive) they believe “natives” could not understand English, so they talked. And talked a lot. The comments of John Hill were published and broadcasted by the British Media only in the first couple of days after Maddie disappeared. Then, as people used to see in Soviet Union, something happened to Mr. John Hill: he just vanished from the newspapers pages and TV reports, like the rivals or supposed enemies of Stalin were erased from official pictures. I collected a lot of information, during those three times I stayed “incognito” at Praia da Luz. I had the opportunity to find how the system set up by Alex Woolfall, from Bell Pottinger, worked, “managing” information released by PJ to the McCann couple and "feeding" it to be published and broadcasted (after some“adaptations”…) by British Media.
This is the Sun article in question.
qui consiste à essayer de faire valoir un point en affirmant simplement qu'il est vrai. Une affirmation en soi (comme l'effraction par la fenêtre) n'est pas vraiment une preuve de quoi que ce soit, ni même un argument réel - une affirmation démontre simplement que la personne qui fait la déclaration y croit ou feint d'y croire. Un argument par assertion véritablement fallacieux est celui où une personne continue à affirmer sans argument, même après sollicitation d'un argument. Un argument répété par assertion peut également prendre la forme de non sequitur (qui ne suit pas les prémisses, que la conclusion soit vraie ou fausse) qui demande peu d’effort et est donc souvent utilisé pour fatiguer les personnes qui avancent des arguments réels, guerre d'usure.
* ex. Crois ce que je dis ou je te frappe. C'est un cas particulier de la forme négative de l'argumentum ad consequentiam (par la conséquence), qui conclut qu'une hypothèse (généralement une croyance) est vraie ou fausse, selon que la prémisse entraîne des conséquences souhaitables ou indésirables, autrement dit en se fondant sur un appel à l'émotion. Si P, alors Q . Q est indésirable, donc P est faux.
Il s'agit de rejeter une déclaration comme absurde sans donner la preuve de son absurdité.