as philosophers trained in the art of dialectics are wont to remind us, sometimes quantitative changes really can lead to qualitative transformations: dial up the degree of mendacity and the amount of misinformation in circulation, and the public sphere may undergo an irreversible change for the worse. Is that what motivates worries about "fake news", whether state-sanctioned or "bottom-up" - as in the many conspiracy theories that have bubble I up in recent yeas?

"State-sanctioned" means something that the government prohibited by some rules. "Bottom-up" means a process that starts from the lowest levels of a hierarchy upward. Then what is the meaning of contrasting "state-sanctioned fake-news" and "bottom-up fake news"?


1 Answer 1


Sanction is unfortunately a double edged word where the two meanings are almost opposite (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanction). Context is so vital in this case. If somebody sanctions something, it means they approve the action. If somebody imposes sanctions, then they are punishing or penalising as a result of an undesirable action. (Just 2 examples, there are many more)

I guess one is a false agenda pushed by the state, and the other is generated organically, ie, from trolls on the internet (as an example). Good bottom-up examples would be that of UFO's, faking the Moon landings, Paul McCartney replacement conspiracy theories. State validated ones might alledgedly include that of the Crimea wanting to be part of Russia again or the famous WMDs in Iraq - but in general the twisting of facts into a misrepresentative news story so as to suit a political agenda

  • Iraq did have chemical weapons. It did have a nuclear program; looters cut up the reactors and sold them for scrap after the 2003 Gulf War. The radioactive scraps showed up in the Netherlands not long afterwards. (Though it is conceivable that newspaper articles about the radioactive scrap might have been fake news.)
    – Jasper
    Apr 5, 2019 at 8:47
  • Yes but nowhere near the scale originally being reported. "Later U.S.-led inspections found that Iraq had earlier ceased active WMD production and stockpiling." (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction) But let's not turn this into a discussion for politics.stackexchange.com
    – Smock
    Apr 5, 2019 at 10:07

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