Sunday, January 1, 2017

Post-Truth and Conspiracy Theories

In a surprising rhetorical move, Ignacio Ramonet, a Spanish journalist close to chavismo and former editor-in-chief of Le Monde diplomatique, argues that a sign that we live in a “post-truth” era is that some people do not accept the obvious fact that the Venezuelan government is the victim of a conspiracy.

Conspiracy theorists commonly refute their critics by accusing them of also being part of the conspiracy or of being “official conspiracy theorists,” but this must be one of the first times the new term “post-truth” is used by a conspiracy theorist to characterize the sceptics’ “post-factual relativism.”

Here are the key paragraphs from his end of the year article for Telesur:

All this in the context of a long duration media war against Caracas which began with Hugo Chávez arrival to power in 1999, and which has intensified since April 2013. It reached unheard of levels of violence after the election of President Nicolás Maduro.

This atmosphere of permanent and aggressive media harassment, of insidious misinformation about Venezuela, has confused even many of the friends of the Bolivarian Revolution. Especially because, in this “post-truth” era, the practice of lying, the intellectual fraud, and shameless deception is not punished by any negative consequence, not in terms of credibility or loss of image. Anything goes, everything is useful in this “era of post-factual relativism,” and not even the most objective facts are taken into consideration. Not even the arguments of plots and conspiracies –which are so obvious in the Venezuelan case, - are accepted. Beforehand, the dominant media discourse characterizes and denounces the “supposed plots” as the unacceptable arguments of an “old narrative”…

Ramonet devotes the rest of his piece to praising President Maduro for his “audacity”, “firm hand”, “creativity”, and “courage”, and for through “a sequence of masterful chess plays nobody could foretell,” defeating at least ten conspiracies during 2016. All post-factually true…

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