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Debunking 'disinformation'

By Laurence Maher - posted Thursday, 3 November 2022

At a time when attacks on individual freedom of thought and expression in Australia (and elsewhere) are accelerating, the use of the abstractions "disinformation" and "misinformation" in public administration, the conventional mass media, business, academia and what passes itself off as the progressive political Left, has become part of everyday usage. The Shorter Oxford Dictionary defines the former as "deliberately false information" and the latter as "wrong or misleading information". For those Hell-bent on suppressing free speech regarding specific categories of ideas, those prefixes achieve the same censorship which tacking on phobia to the end of the category of ideas of the ultra-sensitive, easily offended privileged communities.

Why is it that any Australian Government feels the need to justify the Big Tech NEWSPEAK/Groupthink euphemism, "interventions" to stifle "disinformation"? Why not use the unambiguous word "censorship"? The best justification our national government has is an alleged need to create "a strong and sustainable news media ecosystem" – yet another example of modern meaningless abstraction which George Orwell ridiculed in his enduring essay, "Politics and the English Language".

Until recently, if a controversial statement was alleged to be as lie, or false, deceptive or misleading, the normal and most reliable path to illuminating if not resolving the controversy was to subject the specific relevant evidence to logical scrutiny. Overnight, the siren calls of "disinformation" and "misinformation" have achieved a stunning propaganda success in diverting public attention from the evidence of the truth. By way of prominent example, the ensuing formulaic stigmatizing of dissenters as "conspiracy theorists" invites the challenge: so what? When the abstraction "narrative" is used, one response might be "so what precisely is your version of the evidence? When the abstraction "nuanced" is used, it is an odds-on certainty that evidence of the truth is about to be suppressed.


In its response to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Digital platforms inquiry | ACCC, the Australian Government referred to growing global recognition of the need for citizens to be equipped to "engage critically" with online news and information sources in light of the increased prevalence of "fake news" and "disinformation".

The Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation (2021) developed by the Digital Industry Group Inc (adopted by Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Redbubble, Tik Tok and Twitter), following the Australian Government's contribution, piously asserts that its first Guiding Principle is "Protection of Freedom of Expression". This is nonsense on stilts.

Enter now that collection of the world's leading wealth gatherers in pursuit of "global governance", the proudly ultra-elitist World Economic Forum (WEF). Its crusade does not tolerate any dissent or public debate. At its 2022 Davos conference, Australia's eSafety Commissioner told her fellow WEF participants that "we're going to have to think about a recalibration of a whole range of human rights that are playing out online [including] freedom of speech" (quoted here "Recalibrating" censorship in Australia - On Line Opinion - 18/8/2022).

More recently, the WEF has said that "disinformation" is creating a polluted information environment – an infodemic – which the WEF missionaries (including the UN and CNN) are fighting so as "to prevent Uncle Bob sharing "misleading" (and polluted) information at the Thanksgiving table." The "Uncle Bob" slur is an allusion to the "deplorables" sneered at by the Democrats' candidate in the 2016 US Presidential election campaign.

The WEF is at the forefront of the confected identity politics ideology which is an elitist corruption of real multiculturalism. Its central NEWSPEAK/Groupthink concepts are "diversity", "inclusion" and "equity". The reality is that it excludes diversity of opinion by conferring legally enforceable privileges on allegedly "oppressed", "victimised", "marginalised", "demonised", etc, etc, etc, etc arbitrarily selected communities with personal attributes some inherent, and others a matter of choice from one day to next. Of the numerous absurdities of this ideology, one is the exclusion of the homeless, the unemployed, under-employed and those surviving in chronic poverty. Ideas about or attributed to these untouchables are subjected to relentless "hate speech" by the new Puritans. It is an ideology which is utterly ahistorical. The contempt for the "uneducated" working class – who in the early days of the Industrial Revolution were, in fact, wage slaves is summed up in the truly nauseating boast of the WEF "Great Reset" authors: You'll own nothing, and you'll be happy." As the enactment of the Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act 2018 demonstrates, the curse of wage slavery endures.

One example of the giveaway ad hominem use of the "conspiracy theorists" slur directed at critics of the WEF and its chilling Great Reset crusade is to be found in the British Broadcasting Corporation's online "Monitoring and Reality Check" What is the Great Reset - and how did it get hijacked by conspiracy theories? - BBC News on critics of the WEF posted on 24 June 2021. The BBC's short description of the alleged conspiracy is that the WEF is:


… a secret cabal that is broadcasting its plan around the world…There's a Great Reset podcast and even a 280-page book. But the plan is light on specific detail…This lack of clarity, combined with the plan being launched by an influential organisation, provided fertile ground for conspiracy theories to grow.

Put aside the passing reference to the book and related perfunctory and illogical assertions about material posted on Facebook, if anyone at the BBC claims to have spent the weeks necessary to read the Gargantuan amount of the WEF Gospel on its web site, such a person could not possibly have made the quoted claim. It is risible. The BBC is a partisan in the increasingly determined crusade to enforce "identity" conformity. That in itself is a sad commentary on the ideological debasement of the national broadcaster. More generally, in the WEF enclave, the ordinary English words "dissent" and "debate" are verboten.

There is in this a marvellous postmodern (and even L Ron Hubbard-like) irony. Simultaneously, the WEF manages its Gargantuan storehouse of minute specification of its global governance project in part by discouraging the populace from considering it unless they have been taught how to achieve that level of responsibility. As for all we pitiful "deplorables", we are permitted to participate in the "space" of "conversation" and "narrative" only so far as there is an applicable WEF imprimatur.

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About the Author

L W Maher is a Melbourne barrister with a special interest in defamation and other free speech-related disputes. He has written extensively on Australian Cold War legal history.

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