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News & politics

Divide and conquer. Misconceptions, misdirections, and delusions

(18 Posts)
Elegran Sun 20-Sep-20 14:03:39

Fake news is everywhere, encouraged by those with something to gain by setting one part of the population against another part. Even without their efforts, people are incredibly eager to believe the rumours that fly around. It has always been the case – once upon a time it was Bolshevics infiltrating the country, they could be detected by the snow still on their boots even in midsummer. At another time, it was the French – in Hartlepool, during the Napoleonic wars, a ship's monkey survived a shipwreck, only to be hanged by the townspeople as a “hairy French spy” A similar thing happened in 1772, at Boddam, near Peterhead in Aberdeenshire.

Here are a couple of modern ones - with links to their true stories - I am sure you can think of others, but please try to find the truth and post it to counteract the fake spin.

Illegal immigrants getting benefits No they don't. If they are here illegally, they have no official existence, and to get official benefits you have to fill in forms. Illegal immigrants get only what they work for, which is often peanuts. If they are ill, or sacked, or laid off, or their boss delays paying them, they get zilch, zero, nothing at all, and they have no defence. Stacks of regulations, reports etc here -

Asylum seekers jumping housing queues, having enormous families, and getting vast amounts of benefits The facts about asylum seekers can be seen here -

Devices listening in to your conversation This isn't Big Brother in Westminster, it is a marketing ploy to send you as much advertising as possible so as to make you spend, spend, spend! Yes, it is true that unless you opt out most of the websites you visit have links to advertising organisations which harvest your email address, buying habits and past Google searches BUT you can go onto your Google account and block the ones which act through Google. Be aware that the sites have an account with Google too – by signing up to the ads programme, they get a very small amount every time someone clicks on an ad, and Google send you an ad if you click on certain words, mention certain words, or if your browser even just sees certain words on the screen. If you don't want that, you can stop it. It is up to you. Note – there are many other online advertising agencies as well as Google!
The bottom line is - take seriously the request that appears for you to choose your online privacy settings^

Oopsadaisy4 Sun 20-Sep-20 14:07:42

Including of course, the Privacy settings for Gransnet that you still can’t opt out of accepting.

Elegran Sun 20-Sep-20 14:46:30

Just hope that they are an improvement on none at all . . .

Dinahmo Sun 20-Sep-20 21:33:34

At the beginning of the 20th century Charles Rennie Mackintosh stayed in Walberswick in Suffolk. The locals, with their strange accents, thought he was German and made life unpleasant.

Don't get me wrong, I happen to love the Suffolk and Norfolk accents.

MaizieD Sun 20-Sep-20 22:11:01

Surely it was Mackintosh who had the strange accent, Dinahmo?

Elegran Sun 20-Sep-20 22:29:59

Strange accents are a two-way phenomenon. They go in pairs, one for each person in a dialogue.

Dinahmo Sun 20-Sep-20 22:42:38


Surely it was Mackintosh who had the strange accent, Dinahmo?

Yes, of course he did, but I can imagine that over 100 years ago the locals accents were likely to be incomprehensible to outsiders.

It's slightly off piste I know but may be it is an example of division. When we were on holiday on Sicily some years ago, most of the other people in the group were Scots. We started talking bout Scotland and mentioned how we liked Mackintosh. They were surprised that we'd even heard of him. They were even more surprised when we said we'd gone on holiday to Scotland in 1969 or 1970 partly to see the School of Art and his other buildings and that we'd arranged to tour around the School. The lady who showed us round took us to a store room piled high with his furniture and with plan chests full of his drawings and those of his contemporaries.

welbeck Mon 21-Sep-20 01:56:55

why were they surprised.

NotSpaghetti Mon 21-Sep-20 02:11:39

Elegran, can I just comment that I hate the two words “fake” and “news” when put together. Surely this is an example of dividing and misleading in and of itself?

If something is fake, it isn’t really news, it’s simply misinformation or propaganda. To imply that news can be fake, seems ridiculous to me.

Elegran Mon 21-Sep-20 08:38:24

I don't much like the term myself, but it is true that news can be faked and rumours given a gloss of truth, Perhaps we should start a "meme" of always adding that D?

MaizieD Mon 21-Sep-20 08:45:20

Did any of you catch that extraordinary statement of Lynton Crosby's recently? To the effect that 'one man's lie is another man's honesty'.

Is it me, or do other people suspect that he either doesn't know, or is deliberately twisting, the meaning of 'lie' and 'honesty'?

Elegran Mon 21-Sep-20 08:52:57

It is thelatest Newspeak, Maizie, meanings of all words redefined to cover their use by spin doctors. All pigs are equal but some pigs are more equal than others.

Elegran Mon 21-Sep-20 08:53:22

The most equal are those that can fly.

NotSpaghetti Mon 21-Sep-20 09:17:51

Great idea Elegran - “faked news* is much better.

growstuff Mon 21-Sep-20 09:29:53

It goes much further than that with photoshopped photos or photos allegedly showing something, but in reality depicting something else. Certain groups/governments have, for example, used photos to show the devastation of attacks or war, but in reality they show another war.

They aren't just manipulation of the truth, but an attempt to establish a different "truth" by blatant lying and misrepresentation.

Jane10 Mon 21-Sep-20 09:46:54

I always think that fake news is just lies. It's not the truth so it's lies. Thank Trump for this stupid phrase (and so much else that we could do without)

growstuff Mon 21-Sep-20 09:57:32

Trump turned accusations which were being used against him on their head. He makes things up and photoshops pictures and has been called out. Now he uses the phrase to attack anything he doesn't like. The result us that the public isn't sure any more what is truth.

Alegrias Mon 21-Sep-20 10:03:48


I always think that fake news is just lies. It's not the truth so it's lies. Thank Trump for this stupid phrase (and so much else that we could do without)

I agree that fake news = lies; but maybe inventing the phrase is something we can't actually blame Trump for, although he's certainly very good at it!

Author Sarah Churchwell asserts that it was Woodrow Wilson who popularized the phrase 'fake news' in 1915, although the phrase had been used in the US in the previous century.