The results of these votes were shocking, but not surprising. The rules of capitalism have been gamed by the ruling kleptocracy and a lot of working people are angry. No mystery there. In the past week, however, the collective postmortem – on the left and right of politics – has focused on a concern with far greater long-term impact: the accidental or deliberate propagation of misinformation via social media. Many millions of people saw and believed fake reports that the pope had endorsed Trump; Democrats had paid and bussed anti-Trump protesters; Hillary Clinton was under criminal investigation for sexually assaulting a minor. About the only accusation not levelled at Clinton was implication in the murder of JFK, and that was because Trump had already used it against his Republican primary rival Ted Cruz. If democracy is predicated on reliable information, it’s in serious trouble right now.
There has always been the most ghastly distortion in politics. It’s just that it used to be controlled, directed even, by the gatekeepers of the media. Now it isn’t.
And there absolutely never was some golden age when all was patiently explained, facts only, and then people let to make up their minds.