These days, it is nearly impossible to not stumble upon the buzz words “post-factual news” and “post-truth politics.”
Many journalists, scientists and politicians claim that we live in a time where emotions are more important than facts and reasonable arguments. For me, this view is very dangerous. It gives people the permission to end any kind of discussion. It keeps progressive programs and policies on hold. For instance, there are many people who still think that women should not be emancipated because they have the feeling that women are too weak for powerful positions. And some people feel afraid of foreigners because they have heard some worrying stories about them. So, they think that it is better if all foreigners stay far away. Interestingly, these people can only find positive “natural-given” attributes for their own groups because their own groups are the best ones.
Scientists know that there is no objectivity. They can present their facts, but their experiments and standpoints are shaped by their methods, theories and historical circumstances. That’s why many other scientists can and should disagree with them.
It does not matter if the ideas of Kant, Foucault, Copernicus or Einstein are not relevant anymore. The importance is that they found out something and other scientists could keep on working with their ideas. Nietzsche once said:
There are no facts, only interpretations.
There is no free press if politicians are allowed to shut down journalists by calling them “fake news.” I don’t deny that the media reports false information and that journalists have certain opinions about a person, or a party. I actually think that this is what the media is all about: different perspectives, various standpoints. And people can decide what kind of news are true, relevant or reasonable for them.
Someone who calls certain media outlets “fake”, thinks that there is some kind of ultimate truth out there. However, the media is owned by people, produced by people and consumed by people. It is culturally constructed, such as nation states, political parties, identities, and everything else that was created by human beings.
Even though many journalists have the noble goal to search for the truth and to report about something as objective as possible, this goal can never be accomplished. News outlets have agendas, and news are framed. And this counts for every news outlet, not only for some of them!
“Free press” means that all journalists can report what they want. The readers can decide if they believe them and they can compare different media outlets.
If politicians, political parties or governments decide what is true and false in this world, we have to work harder to find our own truth.