Fred Skulthorp has a useful Critic piece on the disinformation game and attempts by big media to present themselves as trustworthy oases in a chaotically dishonest world.
The next great disinformation panic
Journalists gain trust by trusting the public
The first great disinformation panic started roughly around 2016 and lasted right up until the present day. Every time you logged on to your social media, you were at risk. Your vegetative scroll through the timeline became a multi-million pound information defence operation aimed at countering “fake news” and “disinformation”.
In the space of just half a decade, an entire new infrastructure of media was set up to tackle this grave threat to Western societies. “Expert” NGOs signed lucrative contracts with government departments and social media companies. Philanthropic donors, from Google to Bill Gates, pumped money into “not for profit” newsrooms to garner audience trust around issues that were supposedly being wrecked by this age of fake news and misinformation.
Anyone paying attention already knows that big media "fact checking" is a marketing tool as Skulthorp makes clear. He also passes on this useful point.
As the Substacker Gurwinder rightly points, the spread of misinformation doesn’t necessarily obscure the truth. It ultimately helps people become savvier and more attuned to the reality of a “dishonest world” which of course has many sources. The old model of news, where an audience relied on a few outlets, is dead. Instead, a complicated ecosystem of information reflects a complicated world. Pretend otherwise, try to draw a simple binary between the world of goods news and the world of the bad, and your audience will go elsewhere.
I don't see strong evidence of people becoming savvier and more attuned to the reality of dishonest media or the dishonesty embedded in international bureaucratic policy. Yet social change can be slow and not necessarily obvious until tipping points make it so. If Skulthorp is right, change could be dramatic.