We've always had to fight for facts—but it's particularly important right nowby Simon Blackburn / June 20, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
Post Truth: Why We Have Reached Peak Bullshit and What We Can Do About It by Evan Davis (Little, Brown, £14.99)
Post-Truth: The New War on Truth and How to Fight Back by Matthew D’Ancona (Ebury Press, £6.99)
Post-Truth: How Bullshit Conquered the World by James Ball (Biteback Publishing, £9.99)
Here are three distinguished journalists, and three books on the same subject. Each one takes its title from the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year for 2016, where “post-truth” was defined as an adjective “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Each is in part a response to the successes of the mendacious Donald Trump campaign and the disgraceful Brexit propaganda of the referendum. Each laments that social media and other dark arts of new technology have unprecedented power to manipulate and mislead a huge proportion of the population. The authors are to be congratulated on being among the first, although surely not the last, to ponder the meaning of the political disasters of 2016 and to worry about the climate that gave birth to them.
The similarity of the three books goes beyond their titles. Each realises that Trump and Brexit h…