The Dim-Post

January 11, 2017

What is truth? If you follow me?

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 4:57 pm

Everyone has taken time out from bemoaning the rise of fake news to perpetuate this anonymously sourced, unverified story about Donald Trump hiring prostitutes to pee in front of him and this all being filmed by Russian intelligence. There’s an episode of Yes Prime Minister where Bernard talks about irregular verbs:

I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist.

Likewise, they have fake news, we have stories that ‘might be true, you never know!’, or ‘are funny whether its true or not’, etc. Matthew Hooton has a political adage about rumoured or alleged videotapes: ‘The videotape never exists’.

40 Comments »

  1. One day I will meat this “everyone” you talk of, probably if I ever decide to actually read twitter.

    Comment by Korakys — January 11, 2017 @ 5:25 pm

  2. ‘are funny whether its true or not’ is right

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — January 11, 2017 @ 5:28 pm

  3. Bernard’s line is so lovely…

    Comment by David Tank — January 11, 2017 @ 5:57 pm

  4. ‘The videotape never exists’.

    But…it does exist.

    Comment by Ross — January 11, 2017 @ 6:11 pm

  5. Matthew Hooton has a political adage about rumoured or alleged videotapes: ‘The videotape never exists’.

    Except when it does (part 2): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrpO9eggcbA

    But I guess, like most Matthew Hooton proclamations, the existence of inconvenient counter-examples won’t dent the certitude with which this adage is propounded.

    Comment by Flashing Light — January 11, 2017 @ 6:24 pm

  6. The video exists if the first time you hear about it is when you see it on TV. But if you keep hearing about a damaging video (or audio recording) that is soon to be released, it never turns up.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — January 11, 2017 @ 6:33 pm

  7. Everyone has taken time out from bemoaning the rise of fake news to perpetuate this anonymously sourced, unverified story …

    Remember the guy who wrote this?:

    The internet gives you the ability to pay attention to a wide range of superficially amusing, distracting nonsense, but if you let yourself pay attention to it all day, every day, your life will amount to distracting nonsense. Giving up Twitter was the best nonsense-minimising step I took this year, although I undid some of that by getting way too invested in the US election, only to find out with the outcome that almost all of the commentary I read about it was worthless.

    Because for someone who has quit Twitter and turned his back on nonsense, you seem to have your finger firmly on the pulse of what “everyone” is up to.

    Likewise, they have fake news, we have stories that ‘might be true, you never know!’, or ‘are funny whether its true or not’, etc.

    Here’s a couple of desperate attempts to deny the asserted equivalence.

    (1) Many/most folks discussing the allegations have been pretty good at noting their unverified status and also linking/retweeting to denials from those named (while also taking a great deal of glee in making jokes about the fact Trump is accused of paying for golden showers on a bed Obama slept in!!!! … because, c’mon!)

    (2) It’s not just random folks on the interwebz discussing this. US senators (Republican and Democrat) are reported to have taken the report to James Comey, The CIA included the allegations in briefings given to Trump and Obama. That’s quite a bit different to a website posting a story that says references to “Pizza” in an email really means “children for sex”. The mere fact anyone thinks this stuff even could be true is pretty revealing in itself.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 11, 2017 @ 6:38 pm

  8. But if you keep hearing about a damaging video (or audio recording) that is soon to be released, it never turns up.

    Here’s a timeline for Rob Ford’s video that disproves your claim: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Rob_Ford_video_scandal

    But sure … keep on making it! Why should inconvenient facts get in the way of a good theory that makes for a snazzy soundbite on a radio show? A Hooton’s gotta hoot.

    Comment by Flashing Light — January 11, 2017 @ 6:43 pm

  9. Just out of interest who here actually believes this? Flashing light?

    Some troll on 4chan has already tried to claim they started it back in November.

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — January 11, 2017 @ 7:07 pm

  10. Just out of interest who here actually believes this? Flashing light?

    If you have to believe it, you shouldn’t.

    Comment by Flashing Light — January 11, 2017 @ 7:12 pm

  11. If you have to believe it, you shouldn’t.

    Actually, that sounds like a good adage for Matthew Hooton to confidently espouse … he can have it for free.

    Comment by Flashing Light — January 11, 2017 @ 7:14 pm

  12. You’re right, of course. But since Trump started his political career claiming Barack Obama was born in Kenya, the irony is irresistable.

    Comment by Gareth Wilson — January 11, 2017 @ 7:15 pm

  13. Flashing light, that was what I thought about the Peter Davis airport rumours. If you really want to believe it , the chances are its bullshit.

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — January 11, 2017 @ 7:24 pm

  14. If you really want to believe it , the chances are its bullshit.

    I’d say, if you really want to believe it, then you should be all the more sceptical and demand a higher level of proof before accepting it as fact. Confirmation bias being what it is … .

    Comment by Flashing Light — January 11, 2017 @ 7:38 pm

  15. @Matthew Hooton,

    But if you keep hearing about a damaging video (or audio recording) that is soon to be released, it never turns up.

    Does this mean you are confidently predicting that there is no recording of Netanyahu negotiating with Arnon Mozes for favourable coverage in Yedioth Ahronoth?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 11, 2017 @ 9:26 pm

  16. But if you keep hearing about a damaging video (or audio recording) that is soon to be released, it never turns up.

    Yes – the secretary always erases it while answering the phone.

    Comment by Keir Leslie — January 11, 2017 @ 10:06 pm

  17. Same appears to be true for Vladimir Putin ordering the hacking of the DNC. No proof whatever. Of who actually did the hacking or who ordered it. Hasn’t stopped the media spreading the story as though it’s true.

    Comment by truthseekernz — January 11, 2017 @ 11:06 pm

  18. I’m sure all those breathlessly retweeting “Trumps golden showers” scandal also believed that Obama was a gay Muslim who got where he is by giving services in limos. Fake but accurate… wasn’t that the phrase back when George W had his TANG records reprinted in default MS Word? God I hope that the various petals swooning over every trumped up story get over this soon.

    Comment by JohnnyComeLately — January 11, 2017 @ 11:49 pm

  19. There’s a few fundamentals that are public knowledge. Trump and Putin share similar world views and have already colluded on a number of issues.

    There’s also been a concerted attempt by people like Greenwald to muddy the waters on this very basic point – Trump and Putin have formed an alliance we should all be terrified by. Why they would want to do that is an interesting question.

    Most likely Putin assisted Trump’s campaign and the very people who waged viscous misogynistic attacks on Clinton now want to deny this.

    But this latest on Trump seems to good to all true but a lot of it is just common knowledge of their shared agenda. And it is very interesting why certain people want to turn the issue into anything else but that.

    Comment by NeilM — January 12, 2017 @ 12:18 am

  20. Also a tactic used against activists when they get affective. Taste of their own medicine.

    Comment by Anonymous (Sr) — January 12, 2017 @ 6:52 am

  21. I’m not sure how any of these allegations could be verified. They are based on one intelligence source gaining information covertly, and then communicating it to the other agent. I don’t see how CNN could rock up to the Kremlin and ask for independent verification of the “golden shower” tape.

    A heavyweight agency like the CIA/FBI, especially after the Iraq fiasco, would not write stuff like this down unless it was based on a reliable source.

    So I think it’s probably true, which is terrifying.

    Comment by Seb Rattansen — January 12, 2017 @ 7:18 am

  22. if you really want to believe it, then you should be all the more sceptical and demand a higher level of proof before accepting it as fact.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Yet there are many millions who believe in God. Go figure.

    Comment by Ross — January 12, 2017 @ 7:28 am

  23. A heavyweight agency like the CIA/FBI, especially after the Iraq fiasco, would not write stuff like this down unless it was based on a reliable source.

    Not so. As a writer cleverer than me once said, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” (Karl Marx)

    Comment by Ross — January 12, 2017 @ 7:34 am

  24. I know there is a huge moral panic going on at the moment about fake news amongst liberal elites as they cast about for any reason for Trump’s victory that doesn’t involve a mirror, but this story isn’t fake news. Fake news seeks to mislead readers for financial or other gain and it is deliberately published hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation, specifically on various forms of social media. The Buzzfeed site says at the very beginning –

    “…A dossier, compiled by a person who has claimed to be a former British intelligence official, alleges Russia has compromising information on Trump. The allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors…”

    So they are upfront about the veracity or otherwise of the story. And the story has been reported with similar reservations in the traditional media. In other words, this story is just like any other form of white propaganda news that we get every day from every PR firm in the country.

    Fake news to my mind is simply old school black/grey propaganda re-imagined with social media in mind. That it comkes from Russia is hardly a surprise. Russian military theory makes a big deal of a concept the Russians call “Maskirovka”, which literally translates into “something masked” and has it roots in the word masquerade. Western analysts usually translate it as deception and camouflage but it is a lot deeper than than that (wikipedia has a pretty good explaination of it, worth reading in the context of the Kremlin led fake news assault on the West). A Masquerade is where no one knows who is behind the mask or exactly what their agenda is – Russian Maskirovka as “fake news” is create exactly the same confusion in the west to divide and weaken it. In the USSR, the KGB put great emphasis on black/grey propaganda although only to moderate success.

    The key difference between the Maskirovka of the cold war and the Maskirovka of fake news is the internet. Prior to the internet cold war governments in the west had some control over what was published – either through the informal webs of the establishment to editors (and experienced journalists who could smell a KGB rat) or through simply banning notices (the notorious D-Notice in the UK). Now, Maskirovka as fake news is on an equal footing with any other form of propaganda, especially to a society which has simultaneously gutted responsible journalism and anaesthetised the population to white propaganda by frequently republishing PR releases as news by “reputable” MSM news organisations.

    Ultimately, should the propaganda assault become particularly serious, the only way to fight back will be much stricter legislative controls on social media organisations like Facebook.

    Comment by Sanctuary — January 12, 2017 @ 8:18 am

  25. We act like we are suddenly being victimised by selective propaganda. Ask yourself what would JFK look like if we’d been allowed the kinds of insights into his private life we now take for granted, and yet get so frothy about, like somehow we, the gifted and nouvelle generation have been somehow singled out to be fed bullshit to?

    Comment by Lee Clark — January 12, 2017 @ 8:52 am

  26. Some here so desperately want it to be true. It would be amusing if it were not so utterly frightening at the same time. The utilitarian (ends justify means) trend by media and liberals in their support for anyone but Trump is scary – like a collective Franz von Papen mentality

    Comment by Upton — January 12, 2017 @ 1:02 pm

  27. The alt world – Trump as victim of liberal fake news campaign.

    There seems to two versions. 1 – HRC just wanted to blame Putin for her loss. 2 – the CIA are against Trump because he’d stop them going to war against Russia.

    They blend at times.

    It’s not just some people being skeptical of the intelligence agencies – they’re putting forward quite particular alternative theories which all just happen to demonise HRC and minimise the Putin/Trump dangers. As well as claiming the reaction by liberals to Trump is worse than Trump.

    Comment by NeilM — January 12, 2017 @ 1:14 pm

  28. AKAIK, golden shower videos are still illegal in NZ, so anyone who claims to see this video here has some explaining to do 🙂

    Comment by Ben Wilson — January 12, 2017 @ 4:02 pm

  29. >Because for someone who has quit Twitter and turned his back on nonsense, you seem to have your finger firmly on the pulse of what “everyone” is up to.

    Be fair. “Everyone” is as specific as “The Left” has come to be, which is OK because “Everyone” does it. And quitting Twitter is easy, I did it myself 3 times this year already.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — January 12, 2017 @ 4:51 pm

  30. I’m very disappointed the press have gone with Watersportsgate, Goldengate was a far better choice.

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — January 12, 2017 @ 5:15 pm

  31. It would be amusing if it were not so utterly frightening at the same time.

    More frightening than Bill Clinton getting blown in the White House? Of course, there was no video of that, so it can’t have been true.

    Comment by Ross — January 12, 2017 @ 6:11 pm

  32. We all know Putin is a bad guy. But criticising him is really dangerous as it gives him the excuse to claim Western media is biased and it just provokes him into occupying parts of Europe.

    We all know Trump is a bad guy. But the really dangerous thing is liberals and the media criticising him. He can just turn around and claim the media is biased and full of fake news.

    What we should be doing to combat Trump and Putin is pointing out how Obama, Clinton and the Democratic Party in general caused all this.

    Comment by NeilM — January 12, 2017 @ 6:20 pm

  33. More frightening than Bill Clinton getting blown in the White House? Of course, there was no video of that, so it can’t have been true.

    Whereas, applying Hooton’s adage, if Clinton had put around the rumour that there was a video of it, then it wouldn’t have been true … .

    Comment by Flashing Light — January 12, 2017 @ 6:33 pm

  34. @NeilM,

    The thing is, you have so perfected your commentating persona that I don’t know if you are being serious or not. Well played, sir. Well played.

    Comment by Flashing Light — January 12, 2017 @ 6:34 pm

  35. The thing is, you have so perfected your commentating persona that I don’t know if you are being serious or not.

    Most often it’s mild irony but that particular post was meant to be dripping in sarcasm.

    I’ve just seen some of the Tillerson appointment hearings and he just looks like the KKK.

    It’s not a game and well financed libertarians like those at The Intercept still with their knives out for Clinton are dangerous – they’re cultivating a very dangerous minority.

    Comment by NeilM — January 12, 2017 @ 6:54 pm

  36. “applying Hooton’s adage, if Clinton had put around the rumour that there was a video of it, then it wouldn’t have been true”

    No, if Clinton had put around a rumour there was a video then there would have been reports of a video but there would have been no video, which would support the adage. Had such a video actually existed, people within the Starr inquiry would immediately have leaked it and that is how you would have learned about it.

    If you disagree with the general truth of the adage, then you currently have to believe it is likely the Russian intelligence agencies have such a video, that they have told people about it, including a former British intelligence officer (or his friends), but that for some reason they have decided not to leak it or release it. That such scenarios are usually so implausible is why the adage usually holds true.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — January 13, 2017 @ 11:47 am

  37. So the adage – ‘The videotape never exists’ – has gone from being a rule of general applicability to a rough rule of thumb? Which makes one wonder just how useful it really is … for instance, you say it means we should disbelieve the claim about Trump. Fair enough. I’m happy to do that (for much the reasons you give). But what does it tell us about the Netanyahu case? What would it have told us in the Rob Ford case?

    And I guess the “further tapes” in this story don’t exist, until the media receive them? Schrodinger’s video?
    http://www.aljazeera.com/blogs/europe/2016/03/georgia-public-sex-tapes-secret-police-160319063729861.html

    Comment by Flashing Light — January 13, 2017 @ 3:38 pm

  38. You guessed right, and the Schrodinger’s cat analogy seems apt. I watched Trump dismiss the controversy last night – he described it as “fake news”, thus confirming that the meme has arrived at the forefront of western political culture.

    There are those for whom empiricism is the arbiter: unless you can confirm something from your own sensory experience, it isn’t real. Antarctica, for instance, becomes real for those who arrive there – perhaps even those who merely overfly it would be tempted to confirm that the ice-land beneath the plane isn’t a collective hallucination, but anyone else is just taking third-party assertions (that it exists) on faith. Is such faith blind? No, we usually do it with our eyes wide open.

    Thus to truthiness. Those disposed to believe in the videotapes are asserting their faith in a British spook, but the author of this cultural analysis (http://nymag.com/thecut/2017/01/the-sheer-perfection-of-donald-trumps-golden-shower.html) thinks the source is irrelevant in comparison to the entertainment value. Which kinda raises the question is truthiness merely a late-arriving attribute of infotainment? Anyway, the report of the British spook didn’t mention any actual videotape recording, according to the various news stories I’ve checked out. Therefore I suspect all the news stories have been generated by rumours. To a journalist, rumours are real enough to report (truthy), and any observer of their behaviour can tell that this is the truth!

    Comment by Dennis Frank — January 13, 2017 @ 7:55 pm

  39. Bernard talks about irregular verbs:
    I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist.

    I am contractually obliged to cite the original source:
    It is often called the Russell conjugation in honour of philosopher Bertrand Russell .

    Comment by Smut Clyde — January 13, 2017 @ 10:03 pm

  40. so, what if it turns out to be true? More specifically, if the kinky incidents really did take place, and the Russian government has been blackmailing Trump over that information, and they don’t have other information to blackmail him with?

    That would mean that Donald Trump’s actions up to now had been influenced by blackmail from the Russian government, but they would now have lost their power to blackmail him, so now he would do what he wants without Russian influence. Would President Trump doing his own thing be better or worse for the world than President Trump under the thumb of Vladimir Putin?

    Comment by Can of Worms, Opened — January 14, 2017 @ 3:41 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: