The Art of the Real

Disinformation vs. democracy

So why has “post-truth” only now become the OED word of the year? Without question, something has shifted in our ever more postmodern world. What the KGB once called dezinformatsiya, and the Reagan administration named “perception management,” has now come to dominate public life. Everywhere we turn in the aborning age of Trump, we see the deliberate spreading of contradictory, misleading, and outright false “news.” The ceaseless fount of counter-information creates a general climate of mass confusion, causing even the most resolute auditors to doubt their senses.

This increasingly influential phenomenon is strangling both the internet and liberal democracy. What separates our brave new world of counterfeit information from the ideologically driven news outlets of the past, or even the late Cold War propaganda initiatives mounted by the United States and the USSR, is that this time, the Big Lies are bubbling up from grassroots internet cesspools—though these are increasingly in cahoots with powerful moneyed interests.