President Donald Trump’s statement on the horrific mass shooting in El Paso on August 3 that killed 22 people and injured 24 covered a lot of ground. From video games and mental illness to the death penalty, the president drew attention to many variables – but not to the semi-automatic guns that are often used in mass shootings. Instead, he claimed that “mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun”. Continue reading
Virtually unknown a few years ago, the terms “post-fact” and “post-truth” have exploded onto the media scene in 2016, with thousands of articles around the globe expressing concern over the absence of a shared body of facts and evidence in public and political debate. This concern is buttressed by evidence that the public is misinformed about a range of issues, from vaccinations to climate change and the fabled Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.
Politicians have always sought refuge in fantasy or subterfuge when confronted by uncomfortable facts. So why the sudden concern with the emergence of “post-truth” politics? Two factors can be identified that confirm that the landscape of public discourse has changed: first, the brazenness with which some politicians have unshackled themselves from the constraints of evidence and reality, and second, the public’s acquiescence with this flight into fantasy land. Continue reading