How “Alternative Facts” Became a Thing
January 30, 2017
Filed under Opinion
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The United States political climate has taken a turn for the worse in that lying to the American people is now perceived as normal.
We live in the strongest economy in the world. This has perpetually affected the way our society has worked; we have an almost infinite amount of choice in the world, and this has transferred into our own identity. It’s a way of self expression; people judge you based on the choices you make, the clothes you buy, the things you say, and this is largely thanks to one man: Howard Moskowitz.
Howard Moskowitz is an American market-researcher and psychophysicist. He started his work out of a New York think tank working for ad campaigns. His first products to sell were for the Pepsi company. At the time, they were developing Diet Pepsi and wanted to know what was the perfect amount of aspartame to fit in a cup of their new drink. After taking in the results of the taste test, he realized that the plots were off, and that the selection was scattered. After working on the project, he found that people didn’t want a specific amount of sweetness, and told Pepsi that they needed to create a brand of drinks with varying amounts of sweetness. Moskowitz said something that would cause entire economy to turn to the consumer: that people would buy a from a range of products, as long as their personal preference was in it. This was news to Pepsi, who had decided to hire another firm. After being told off by the PepsiCo, he started to work with Preggo, the sauce company. He gave them the same advice, and now you walk into the store to find seven different varying thickness of sauces. They outsold Ragu, their competitor, until they copied the plot of Preggo.
Since then, it’s become an expectation in our society to always have a choice. Many people have enabled this, and one of the most important is the first person, named Roger Ailes. He saw an opportunity for competition in the news. He split from what today is known as MSNBC to start his own news network, known as FOX News. Ailes was the Chairman and CEO of Fox News until late last year. With the use of right winged sensationalism, the news channel began to politicize the news, and gave viewers a varied choice between the sometimes inconvenient truth, and what conservatives believed, thus the major shift in our country towards “relative truth” in the media.
This gives safeguard to express what President Trump finds in his opinion to be truth. If he can say something, and a popular news channel backs this, he can claim that CNN, who fact checks him, is in fact fake news. This also allows Steve Bannon, an advisor to the president, to tell the New York Times that “the media here is an opposition party.”
Our country has to make a decision on if we support the truth, or we support making decisions on what the truth is.