Maciej Radny

Why “fake” is the new wrong


Approx Reading Time-10The term “fake news” is quickly turning into a byword for anything we disagree with. However, there is a large difference between claiming that someone is wrong and claiming they made it up.




Back in the halcyon days of 2016, the year that everyone died, fake news was a humble beast. The embryonic form was securely kept by the borders of the petrie dish it called home. And while it was acidic to the touch, it was clearly labelled. Fake news was merely a news topic from a less than reputable source. It was easy to ignore it, and thusly it did no-one any harm. However, sometime soon thereafter that, a clumsy (tiny) hand emptied the contents on the floor, and the amoeba grew legs, and soon became intelligent. And although it was still very much stupid, it freed the locks and soon entered the stream of general conversation, quickly polluting it.

Flash forward to one year later, and the landscape is razed with the volcanic flames of this monster’s step. Truth is little but a smoking, turgid mass and the industries it powered are rotting as a result, morphing into horrible mutants as a reaction to its touch. Ahhh! Half-truth. However, if we were to lock eyes with the beast, we’d hardly recognise it. As it stands, mouth breathing, single eye unblinking through a veil of keyboard vitriol, we see that fake news is no longer about news from a dodgy source, it’s seemingly now replaced the merit of the views opposite one’s own. No longer is something wrong, it’s fake.

The difference, although small, is gargantuan.

For example, Peter Dutton recently announced his department’s crackdown on “fake refugees”, stating: “Those people who are fake refugees – people who are refusing to provide detail about their claim of protection… we are going to set a deadline for those people… for the end of this year in October.”

The people Dutton is referencing are those who enter the country illegally by boat. Otherwise known as the Problem formerly known as Boat People. So, using the Dutton method, you could easily say that these very real people’s problems are bordering on fiction. They’re “fake refugees”.

The problem is not what Dutton said, but rather the application from those who heard it. Because fake is the new wrong, it’s easier to dismiss the issue. Everything we disagree with is just shit satire we don’t understand. Lulz, Fake boat people…I get it. Previously those opposed to boat people would say that it’s wrong, whereas now they can plant their heels and say it’s fake. Conversely, those who pan Dutton can move beyond him just being wrong, and claim that he’s grounded in fiction.

Therefore, both views are wrong, and no view for you.

Why this matters centres around the building of a wall. The wall within. The ornate brick fortress you build around your preconceptions. By not having to entertain the idea espoused by the opposite, there’s no need for a bridge across the moat. No middle ground, nor surrender, no quarter given, so why not put the trebuchet there instead, loaded with the pig’s head of rotting diatribe to hurl onto comment boxes of our choosing?

Therefore, if the lands of the empire are blanketed with these inaccessible fortresses, what we have is a singular army of clueless hermits, individually raging a war that they’re unsure is actually worth continuing, with the only feedback those within are given being their own voice, booming in the abandoned dining hall of yore. Now that everyone deems themselves correct, and that every other option doesn’t exist, well, break out the mutton joint and fang us a tune on the lute, because hoorah, we’re all scribing into the pages of history what are soon to become the tallest of tales.

While it’d be remiss to assume that the current vintage is the final form, know that no-one is immune, because we’ve all been drinking from the same tap. The classic Australian notion of being able to speak one’s mind has twisted out of control, flaming the longer-held tradition of calling bullshit, “bullshit”. We now hold ourselves to the solution that adding more bullshit (and reducing those who call it such) will see us through.

I suppose the only solution is to smash every reflective surface we see the monster in.


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