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The shocks of the Brexit vote and of Trump's election heightened concerns that misinformation and lying are undermining democratic political processes. The perceived salience during campaigning of false stories have added to the idea that we have entered a new era of 'post-truth' politics. And there are, to be sure, new and very worrying developments in the generation of false 'facts' and fallacious reasoning. Some of these are technological and relate to unprecedented and accelerating industrial capacities of corporations, states and individuals to gather and misuse data. Fabrication, fakery and dissemination have never been so easy and the potentialities for 'totalitarianism' control have never been greater. Other, non-technological developments are deeply concerning too. There appears to have been a shift in political norms and expectations: for example, that political leaders in a democracy should pay a price when they are found to have been lying. Unsurprisingly, the manufacture of ignorance around current financial, economic, social and environmental crises has built upon the strategies deployed in narrower more focussed sectional campaigns close to the hearts and bank accounts of the wealthy and super wealthy. It draws from and builds upon longstanding campaigns to discredit movements threatening regulation of the pursuit of profit: tobacco; climate chage; finance; workers' health and safety; inequality. Taken together the urgency of these current assaults, undermining knowledge and understanding, and the harms that follow, have been important motivators for the contributors to this book.
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