Monday, 20 June 2016

Demagoguery and deceit

As Donald Trump makes another one of the countless absurd claims he’s made during his campaign (this time, following what happened in Florida last weekend, we’re to believe Barack Obama supports ISIS), on the other side of the Atlantic potential future Prime Minister Boris Johnson continues to stoke voter immigration fears. Now, his campaign is assuring fellow Britons that a vote to Remain in the European Union will see Turkish migrants flooding across the border.

Neither of these claims are true. It should go without saying that the president of the United States takes no pleasure in a man massacring 49 of his fellow Americans in Orlando, while the chances of Turkey ever joining the EU are slim to non-existent. All the same, these two politicians are popular – immensely so – because they’ve discovered they can reach the top simply by inventing their own versions of the truth. For various reasons, not only are they getting away with cooking up their own “facts,” but Trump and Johnson are as a result of their fabrications gaining new supporters all the time. He didn’t use the term in his Temple speech, but there’s a name for what Marty Baron was talking about: post-truth politics.

The danger today is that the most unscrupulous of politicians, figures with a real contempt for the electorate, are the ones most likely to exploit voters in the post-truth era. Enter Donald Trump and the Leave campaign. Trump and Leave, headed up by Boris Johnson, are but products of this new system, pushing bigger and bigger fibs and always finding there are zero repercussions for deceiving the electorate – not when the media and the voters fail to sufficiently hold them to account.
Writes Brogan Morris. No further comment needed.