goatchurch | 11.03.2003 11:27
They spread faster and are more dangerous to the
cows than foot and mouth.
I wish I could program this idea for myself.
I get the feeling that all they have to do is keep dishing out the lies in round after round and they will always be one step ahead of us. This shameless disrespect for truth and accuracy is tolerated because we got a war to win: stop quibbling about those minor details, and take a load of this hot news fresh out of the propaganda factory.
With all these lies and rebuttals floating around the media, getting spouted out by commentators on the TV, popular newspapers, and so on on the internet by official, acredited mainstream media, we are too frequently forgetting them. What we need is an AUTOMATIC FACTOID TRACKER.
The main front page would be the Table of Shame. Down the left hand column would be the factoids: "MOBILE ANTHRAX LABS", "URANIUM IMPORTS FROM AFRICA", "KUWAITI BABIES THROWN OUT OF INCUBATORS", "PFI OF LONDON UNDERGROUND IS CHEAP", "SUPERMARKETS CREATE JOBS", "GLOBAL WARMING NOT CAUSED BY HUMAN ACTIVITY", "GM FOOD CURES WORLD HUNGER". These should be specific, atomized claims that can be tracked as they worm their way through the body politic.
The next three columns could be: (Date of birth), (Date of last sighting), (Date of official retraction/clarification/whatever the hell they want to call it).
Anyone registered with a userid could enter into the spirit of factoid spotting. It's an apolitical, harmless sport, like tracking a new slang or turn of phrase as it spreads across the country. We could stick with online text media, the newspapers, and government websites, so all it needs for a positive sighting is a link to the page, author (who said it), and excerpt. Only one entry per document, so there is no double-counting and there is a race to be the first to bag the really big ones (eg from the Prime Minister's live interviews).
We have to make a distinction between spotting a new, unique sighting, or a reflection of a sighting. (eg, the transcript of the PM's speech is not a second sighting, but if the Sun editorial says it too, without mentioning where the information is coming from -- so that if that source is false it can be traced -- then it's a new hit.)
If this got popular, with a lot of people involved, one could start to draw realtime maps as these little factoids are born deep in the heart of a PR department, have a brief foray in the provinces to test out their strength and to get rumours going. Then our tiny factoid moves to London for the big time where it multiplies and spreads like a plague of locusts down all the media channels to blanket the land in sickness.
It's important to gather the raw data, to track these epidemics of factoid infection, to anticipate their spread and pinpoint the sources of disease. While it is always possible to manufacture an antidote in the form of a vaccine of truth after the event, a lot of people will have gotten sick in the first place and they often do not seek out truth to counteract it. It is better if halt the spread of infection as early as possible, and anticipate where it is going. Some of these infections come from abroad, so it should be an international venture.
It would be something positive to at least do with all these irritating goddamn lies all the time.
Unfortunately, I can't program this kind of thing. Any volunteers? An expert could probably adapt it from something they've already got written.
Or maybe someone has done it already they can point me to.