Nonsense above the Fold
Here’s another incident that highlights the amazing flights of fancy in this Post Truth Era. On Monday February 4th, the Washington Post led the front page with an article asserting that the federal government would soon be raining free Wi-Fi down on us like so much manna from heaven. Goodbye DSL providers and cable modems! Goodbye wired internet! Even cell phone companies would have to fight for a market as people moved to VOIP (internet telephone service). You would think only Fox News devotees would find this story of massive government overreach credible, but the narrative was picked up by several other organizations. In fact, the story was completely BOGUS. As detailed by Jon Brodkin at ars technica (as reported by On The Media), the Post seems to have misinterpreted a rather mundane FCC spectrum release for a comprehensive new infrastructure initiative.
So of course, the newspaper published a correction, right? Nope. That would be so twentieth century. They did publish a brief follow-up nowhere near the front page that toned down some of the hype, but they have yet to admit their error.
Ironically, OTM ran another story in the same show about a real-time fact checking app being developed by none other than the Washington Post. Like the browser version I’ve talked about before, this technology is meant to provide immediate annotation of controversial claims. But the new version is a sort of augmented reality application, with on-the-spot comparison of a captured audio stream to a (currently limited) database of “facts.”
Parenthetically, yes, I do plan to stop shilling for OTM and actually blog about neuroscience at some point.