Fake News, Critical Thinking, and Democracy
|Above copied from Interaksyon|
Proliferation of fake news is merely a symptom. Focusing on who writes or disseminates completely ignores the other question of why fake news has taken a strong grip on Philippine society. Entropy which measures probabilities can easily explain why fake news always has an upper hand. There is only one truth but there can be numerous lies. Even an incomplete set of facts can be misleading. For instance, the Department of Education in the Philippines has always made the claim that it has been providing for the needs of public schools. Whether this is true or not actualy depends on which school a child attends. A paper published in Regional Studies, Regional Science shows a great disparity in Philippine public school facilities:
|Above copied from|
Ligaya Leah Figueroa, Samsung Lim & Jihyun Lee
Regional Studies, Regional Science Vol. 3 , Iss. 1, 2016
Truth does depend on where you are. Schools in the capital region definitely do not have enough toilets and classrooms while those in Batangas are apparently in a much better situation. One can therefore report the case in Batangas with the specific agenda of illustrating that the government has answered the needs of basic education or report the case in Metro Manila where the opposite is true. Both are "fake news". Both misinform the public. And the above is not even politically charged or intrinsically divisive.
But seriously, a truth commission can never address the fact that people want to read what they believe in. A truth commission can never replace the fact that we, readers, should not be lazy in the first place. Critical thinking is hard work. It requires both time and effort. And so does democracy.