The following piece is an essay written for my Democratic Politics unit at university. What’s a political science or communications/journalism course without… yet another piece on misinformation on the internet. So I made a point of bashing the media too, you’re welcome! Reference list at the end.
Mis- and disinformation, fake news, propaganda – these are all terms that have recently been rejuvenated in public discourse over the past decade, particularly in the wake of the election campaign (and subsequent electoral victory) of Donald Trump in the United States in 2016. They often have different meanings for different people, can have significant overlap, and (most importantly) are able to be spread by anyone whether they are aware of it or not. The aim of this essay is to compare the prevalence and influence this influx of (mis)information has had on the democratic processes and systems in the United States and Australia, and how their respective systems and institutions have influenced the dissemination of it in return.
Continue reading “Mis- and Disinformation in Australia and the United States: A Comparison” →
Through the rambling redundant sections, forced jokes (except the one that sounded like something straight out of a Discworld novel*), and seemingly irrelevant personal anecdotes, the book The Knowledge Illusion: The myth of individual thought and the power of collective wisdom has (thankfully) offered up a few worthwhile points as I read it. In particular, the discussion on intuition and deliberation was interesting. Intuition is your immediate response to something, whereas deliberation is taking a moment to properly consider and reflect on it beforehand (or in hindsight). With social media today however, especially in political circles, many people do “deliberate” – they just get someone else to do it for them.
Continue reading “Outsourcing Deliberation: Political Misinformation Online” →
Trump has been permanently suspended from Twitter, and seemingly banned from various other social media sites, in the wake of his efforts to incite violence in Washington DC. Obviously, that hasn’t simmered down tensions on the dear bird app as we now have an already raging debate reaching new heights – that is, the power of Big Tech and the right to freedom of speech in relation to causing harm. I’ll let that little discussion run its course, because here I just want to point out the obvious contradiction from the pro-Trump camp.
Continue reading “The Irony of Trump’s Twitter Ban” →
2021 off to a great start, eh? Julian Assange not being extradited, but not for the precedent setting reasons, and denied bail. Now the US is yet again in turmoil, probably the closest to a genuine threat to their government and “democracy” since the Civil War, with a rather incompetent and short-lived coup attempt. Both events occurred at times inconvenient for an Australian political addict. Here are some very quick thoughts on the events in America today, in no real order:
Continue reading “Some Notes on the American Coup Attempt” →
Liberal MP Dave Sharma critiqued a statement made by Labor leader Anthony Albanese and Senator Penny Wong on Friday regarding the US election result. Not only did he completely misinterpret the purpose of the message, but even if he didn’t, there was nothing untoward about Labor’s statement. It was a simple call to have Australia urge the US to, you know, remain a “democracy”.
Continue reading “Actually, Dave Sharma, We Want A Peaceful Transition of Power” →
Wow. Biden managed to pull this off, pending very unlikely wild shifts in multiple recounts or some kind of unexpected coup. Joe Biden is now named as President-elect, and Donald Trump will go down in history as a one-term impeached President, one whose legacy will likely remain for decades given his staggeringly high vote count. However, while celebratory gestures for Trump’s defeat are understandable, it is a mistake to become complacent just because the Democrats, the “adults”, as some outlets and commentators have put it, are making a comeback.
Continue reading “Journalists Must Remain Adversarial” →
As the largest protest movement continues to take place across the US, there are always those who will pick apart every minute detail to find any single act, any single person, that they can point at and dismiss the whole thing as “violent riots”. From the classic “he was no angel” in reference to George Floyd and other murdered black people to “I supported the protests at first but now they’re all looting and burning down buildings”, the online discourse can get Orwellian quickly. Perhaps the most alarming example is the fact some infamous commentators are calling to elect (yes, elect, not “re-elect”) Trump to “fix it”.
Continue reading “Trump Is Still the President” →
I am reading Globalization and Its Discontents (damn Americanisation’s), the updated version with the advent of Donald Trump, written by Joseph E. Stiglitz. In it he describes how globalisation has seemingly failed the world, producing discontents with the system. In the 2002 edition, it was mostly the developing world that suffered, but more recently developed countries have increasingly opposed globalisation. Stiglitz argued this is due to gross mismanagement, but as he admits later, even well managed globalisation results in “losers” in the system.
Continue reading “Globalisation Conveniently Works When People Lose” →
Conspiracy theories have pervaded discourse for decades, from the assassination of JFK to the 9/11 terror attacks being an inside job carried out by the Bush administration. Regardless of the facts and implications one can draw from history and events as they happen, new theories and ideas are added to the pile frequently, particularly with the advent of the internet. These ideas – much like the rhetoric of despotic figures like Donald Trump – are alluring because they offer explanations to those blindly searching for answers. While the questions that led to those answers might be genuine, reality often offers less “fantastic” answers that nonetheless have the benefit of truth.
Continue reading “Reality is Conspiracy Without the Flair: QAnon” →
An anarchist, voting? Oh no, that’s not allowed, that… that’s the other kind of anarchy! Let alone for Biden! Well, let it be some consolation that I cannot vote in the US election because I have the fortune of being born elsewhere in the world and vote there instead. But I do not view the act of voting in a capitalist electoral system as entirely contradictory to the anarchist belief of abolishing authority, even that of the State itself. Let me explain, because this is a piece for the “left”.
Continue reading “Why I’d Vote for Biden” →