Are you uneasy over the way social media is infiltrating U.S. politics? So much misinformation, if not dishonest info, about public matters is “something new under the sun,” writes Holman Jenkins in the WSJ. But as Mr. Jenkins notes, everything that exists under the sun can be used for either good or evil.
A free society is a tempting target for authoritarian propaganda, but there’s a flip side: If you’re a political party, think tank, do-good organization or government agency worried about fake news, Facebook is an excellent way to fight back. Facebook was pilloried recently because its algorithms let advertisers market their wares to self-identified “Jew haters.” Who says those buying such ads aren’t targeting these head cases with corrective messages?
The problem of the public mind being shaped by false or undesirable information is a fact of life, not an excuse for a federally sponsored social-media censorship scheme that wouldn’t work anyway.
An education system that taught critical thinking, rather than crybaby victimhood, might help. The responsible media have a role—which they’ve been abdicating lately—in helping the public distinguish valid statements from invalid ones. Imagine if reporters and editors were trained to vet their reasoning as carefully as they do their facts? American journalism would be revolutionized.
Portraying Donald Trump’s victory as a Russian plot makes life easier for Democratic propagandists. Mr. Jenkins also reminds readers that corrupt use of the means of communication to earn political power is nothing new—not in Russia or in the USA.
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