Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Tories Launch into Jean Baudrillard’s Hyperreality with ‘Fact Check UK’.

with 6 comments

Tory “Hyper-Reality” – Fake News.

Some years ago the writer Jean Baudrillard made a name for himself with the claim that reality was being replaced by simulations, “hyper-reality” in which the real is replaced by the creation and play of images.

..we are in a logic of simulation, which no longer has anything to do with a logic of facts and an order of reason. Simulation is characterized by a precession of the model, of all the models based on the merest fact – the models come first, their circulation, orbital like that of the bomb, constitutes the genuine magnetic field of the event. The facts no longer have a specific trajectory, they are born at the intersection of models, a single fact can be engendered by all the models at once.

The Precession of Simulcra,MÖBIUS – SPIRALING NEGATIVETY

The reader of  many of Baudrillard’s books, who likes a laugh, enjoyed the idea that, as this essay ably summarises,

In hyperreality, the “original” version of an object has no real significance since it belongs to a different realm and therefore loses its referential value. This is not to say that the world becomes unreal, but rather that the faster and more comprehensively societies begin to bring reality together into one supposedly coherent picture, the more insecure and unstable it looks and the more fearful societies become. Reality, in this sense, dies out. As Baudrillard defined it, hyperreality is “the meticulous reduplication of the real, preferably through another, reproductive medium, such as “photography”, and that is what happens in contemporary consumer culture: the picture of a product – also a rock star or a film celebrity – is more important than the original since the context – the environment – adds to the value of the “original” product either in the form of “photo shop,” clearing off all imperfections of the face, or through extensive (and expensive) product placement campaigns, advertisements, billboards, public relations programmes, etc

Hyperreality and Simulacrum: Jean Baudrillard and European Postmodernism. Ryszard W. Wolny

Not many guffaws there it’s true here but in La Gauche Divine (1985) Baudrillard suggested how politics could become a form without content. How with the dominance of media presentation people ended up unable to distinguish fact and fiction.

The canny media advisers of President Putin are said to be amongst the first to use the ideas of hyperreality and simulacra in political communication.

The author of Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia, Peter Pomerantsev, observes,

The beginnings of postmodernism were about being a liberational project, discovering new truths, exploding authoritarian systems. It was quite an idealistic, revolutionary project in the 1960s. It wasn’t about the kind of late postmodernism that doesn’t bother with the truth, which thought “there is nothing to fight for anyway” and was deeply relativistic, believing that everybody lies. But Surkov exploits that. So Russia’s own journey to very destructive postmodernism is one thing, and the other is just very cynical calculation and exploitation of the zeitgeist of the West.

Russia Today is a wonderful example of that. They call it “the other news”. It’s almost like an undergraduate humanities course in a liberal arts university somewhere: “The Other”. In Germany they call it “the missing part”. This is all about the idea that there is another truth, which means there is no such thing as an objective truth.

For Pomerantsev this was a key part of the strategy to undermine the EU, Russia Uses Fluid Ideology to Undermine the EU.

Everybody knows about the anti-EU fake news used by Johnson’s adviser Dominic Cummings,  the Campaign Director of Vote Leave, 

He is credited with having created the Vote Leave slogan, “Take back control”, and with being the leading strategist of the campaign. His campaign strategy was summarised as: “Do talk about immigration”; “Do talk about business”; “Don’t make the referendum final”; “Do keep mentioning the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the over-reach of the European Court of Justice.

A lot was a lot lot cruder, Money for the NHS, long Queues of Migrants pushing to get into Britain.

Donald Trump is a world class master in simulation and dissembling.

Now it seems that this approach to strategy is official Tory strategy during the election.

The Tories’ fake ‘fact-checking’ service shows the same disdain for the truth as Trump

Chris Stevenson writes in the Independent,

It only lasted about 90 minutes, but for those following the leaders’ debate on Twitter there seemed to be a new organisation helping viewers keep track and verify the claims from both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn: FactCheckUk

But that was misleading, the account was actually run by the Conservative Party press office, under the handle CCHQ Press. The move was condemned by independent fact verification organisations like Full Fact, who accused the party of acting “inappropriately”. The backlash on Twitter came swiftly from viewers and rival politicians alike, but the calling out of Corbyn’s “lies” and Johnson as the “clear winner” of the debate did not look quite so bad once the purple livery including a tick mark had been removed and normal service was resumed.

But the damage has been done. Brexit coordinator for the European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt called it “dystopian” and claimed that not even Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, or Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party – who have both been accusing of undermining democracy in their own nations – would go as far as the Conservatives did.

They do, naturally, have their defenders,

How we used to laugh at Baudrillard’s  claim in The Gulf War Did Not Take Place (La Guerre du Golfe n’a pas eu lieu 1991 ) that,

all that spectators got to know about the war was in the form of propaganda imagery. The closely watched media presentations made it impossible to distinguish between the experience of what truly happened in the conflict, and its stylised, selective misrepresentation through simulacra.

If the Tories have their way their misrepresentations are all we’ll know about the General Election.

Beginning with Johnson’s Brilliant Brexit Deal.


6 Responses

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  1. British MP Jo Swinson clarifies she doesn’t torture squirrels after fake news goes viral.

    Of course some misguided people may think that the little details confirm this claim.

    “The story, published by The Mirror, claimed it had seen “harrowing” footage of the Liberal Democrat leader terrorising squirrels in her garden while calling them “pleb bunnies”.

    “The article quoted a fake RSPCA spokesperson condemning the non-existent footage.

    “I’ve never seen anyone so alive with twisted pleasure at the thought of harming another living creature. The glee is palpable,” read the quote.”


    Andrew Coates

    November 20, 2019 at 5:29 pm

  2. The fact is Corbyn got slaughtered. CCHQ reported the fact.

    Kevin Algar

    November 20, 2019 at 6:18 pm

  3. I know about loving the Sinner but how can you love his sins?

    Andrew Coates

    November 20, 2019 at 6:25 pm

  4. Dominic Raab’s comment that people “don’t give a toss” is even more worrying than the deception itself.

    Jim Denham

    November 20, 2019 at 6:33 pm

  5. This is the kind of thing they, the national populist media behind the, from Trump to Putin, seem to promote: it’s all lies, so why can’t we lie better than the others?

    There’s some kind of ‘truth’ that, we are ‘right’ regardless of any facts.

    Andrew Coates

    November 20, 2019 at 6:36 pm

  6. Andrew Coates

    November 21, 2019 at 3:56 pm

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