The Liverpool Echo has one story about a politician seemingly falling foul of the facts – see link above – but this kind of presentation of ‘the facts’ by politicians and indeed newspapers is not new, however, it is widespread.
I’m not going to go into the issue of whether Ester McVey was right or wrong as the facts seem to speak for themselves – she was wrong. But the real question is why did she put her own spin on the Tax Credit issues? It was probably no more than playing to an audience who would like to hear her say such things. It’s the kind of messaging that the politically motivated tabloid press does each and virtually every day.
But what has led to many politicians saying things that may well be very far from the truth and indeed the facts in recent times? It’s likely to be the EU Referendum. How ever you voted the chances are that much of what you heard and read, particularly from the illegally overspending Leave campaign leaders, was wrong, misrepresented, alternative facts or damn right lying.
And since the EU vote that lying and misrepresentation has just bounded on as Leavers try to make their facts fit the real situation or mess that the UK finds itself in. Is it any surprise then that some politicians will misrepresent other issues too?
Often they are simply sending a message to their own supporters; a dog- whistle*. They don’t care whether the facts are correct, it’s all about their own supporters believing the message. The fact that opponents are enraged by the message is of no importance to those who send out the skewed messages.
But look at it another way, you are not just given misinformation or indeed told lies by the politicians and newspapers you don’t trust, you are also having it done to you by those you do trust! Just because a message meets with the agreement of your prejudices and beliefs does not mean that it is factually correct and that’s why I often say don’t trust anyone in power or with power – check out what they are saying and don’t just blindly repeat it as fact because it may be very far from being ‘a fact’.
* Dog-whistle politics is political messaging employing coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has an additional, different, or more specific resonance for a targeted subgroup.