As campaign efforts heat up in the count-down to the general election on the 8th June, party policies and pledges are once again at the frontline of the news and debates. And what a year it has been, with Brexit, a Trump win (and potential impeachment), the collapse of the Irish coalition government and an it-will-never-happen snap election. It’s safe to say 2016/17 have been subject to considerable political controversy.
Pondering upon what the future holds for the UK, I decided to look back at some of the trends and predictions made from the McCann Truth Central 2012 ‘Truth About Politics’ report to see how relevant and true they are today.
Whilst the study unveiled many thought-provoking insights, one in particular stood out.
Over 75% of those surveyed in the UK agree with the statement “the internet makes it easier to find the truth...because it is harder for people, brands and corporations to hide their lies”.
The report concluded that the internet was bringing an entirely new degree of transparency to politics. In its simplest form, this meant that it was making it harder for politicians to lie (or at the very least it was easier for us to expose those lies) and therefore was driving significant political re-imagination.
Fast-forward 5 years and Trump has coined a name for it; Justin Collier (who needed to pay his mortgage so fabricated a story linking Hillary Clinton to a dead FBI agent) proved a US presidential election can be influenced by it; and the largest global social media company published an article on how to try and spot it. In 2012, no one could have predicted that fake news would become such a big part of our political discourse.
There is an argument to say that fake news is by no means a new concept. We are all too aware of the role media has played historically in promoting propaganda. But the internet has created a whole new dynamic to our media environment and is somewhat of a double edged sword. On one side it’s given us a stage from which we can freely and autonomously get stuff out there. On the other, its deregulated, Wild West nature means it has become increasingly harder to uncover truth from lie.
Placing this in the context of the upcoming general election, it raises the question as to whether the internet has given us more transparency after all, or if it has instead simply helped to muddy the political waters?
If you would like to know more about the Truth About Politics please contact the planning department at McCann Bristol Kathryn.Ellis@Mccann.com