Bill Maher slams Internet for its complicity
Bill Maher did not mince words as he called out the Internet as the enabler of lies that Republican politicians no longer fear being caught on. He got it mostly right.
Maher starts his final rule in his New Rules skit with a statement that is only partially true.
“We can all stop asking the question why isn’t our government functioning,” Bill Maher said. “Why? Because truth is dead. And the Internet killed it.”
Maher went on to say that at first it was believed that the Internet would put the totality of world knowledge at our fingertips. He said somewhere along the way the Internet became BS boulevard where truth became roadkill.
Bill Maher while hip shows he is an aging hip. Why? He is correct that the Internet has a lot of misinformation, bad information, and all out nutty information. But it also provides a bonanza of crowdsourced and academia knowledge. The Internet is a tool that can be misused like any other tool.
To believe that said misuse is singular to the platform is wrong. TV and radio have been used for good news and rubbish. Newspapers and other print rags have been used in that manner as well. Before there was the chain email there was the chain letter.
We must educate Americans that things are not true because it is on the Internet. As with any tool it must be calibrated. Calibration means finding trusted sources and validating new sources for trustworthiness.
“Lies are the new truth,” said Maher. “Yes more than ever people are living as entire fact free lifestyle. Which is great news for the Republican candidates. Because when they are confronted on their lies now, they just say ‘O I see what you are doing by fact checking me. I just don’t care. Because my fans don’t care.'”
Maher is absolutely right. But that has little to do with the Internet. It has to do with those that are willfully ignorant. They want an outcome and find the made-up information knowingly to fit that desire. Today the Internet is the tool that can be used to placate the willfully ignorant. Yesteryear there were local organizations, leaflets, chain letters, TV, and radio.
Bill Maher went on to give examples where Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, and Donald Trump blatantly lied. They were debunked but simply did not care as they repeated the lie over and over again. Carly Fiorina is still talking about the Planned Parenthood fetus video that wasn’t real as she continues her attack on the organization. Ironically the two people that made the video were indicted in Texas while Planned Parenthood was absolved of any wrongdoing. Of course Donald Trump is still talking about the nonexistent group of Muslims chairing when the towers came down in New York City on 9/11. Ted Cruz is lying about the government trying to force boys and girls to shower together.
Yes the Internet has a bastion of misinformation and lies. But every single one of the lies by these candidates can be debunked if one uses the Internet as a tool. And it is much faster to do so than going to a rally in pre-Internet days and trying to validate what was heard.