Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Lying is a deliberate strategy

If there’s one certainty in life, it is that, around the middle of November each year, anyone perusing the newsstands will see banner headlines in the Daily Express proclaiming an imminent whiteout as snowmageddon assaults the UK.  This year does not disappoint.  One might think that at least some of the paper’s readers must remember last year’s story, even if they’ve forgotten the years before that, and they must surely remember that the predicted snow-driven chaos never happened.  Yet every year, the story gets shared widely and people believe that it’s going to happen, because the paper said so.   On the simple law of averages, they must inevitably get it right very occasionally, but a good general rule would be to assume it’s nonsense. 
It does underline, though, how easy it is to get people to believe something which is, on the basis of all the evidence and their own personal experience, likely to be false.  And the fact that they can be so easily persuaded to believe something which is in direct conflict with their own personal lived experience serves to demonstrate how easy it has been over decades to get people to believe the lies served up by the same paper about the EU, immigration and so on, where people do not even have the same direct experience to draw upon.  It is in that context that the Tory press’ willingness to report without challenge the lies being spouted daily by the Prime Minister goes largely unrecognised by the readers.  The individual lies may often be accidental – I don’t think he even knows, let alone cares, what is or is not true by now – but the strategy is entirely deliberate.

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