screen grab from youtube video by youtube by Roland Rhodes
Much to the delight of playfully tormenting humans, an inquisitive and energetic puppy can easily be encouraged to chase and even bite it's own tail.
We can all see the image clearly in our minds.
What we don't see so clearly are the implications of the same thing being done to people. Yet it happens all the time and has throughout history. The selective application of stimulus and feeding of disinformation, can lead us to "rush off madly in all directions'.
The Media, acting as an imperfect mouthpiece for various figures of authority and expertise is our chief source of stimulus. We try to reconcile the external stimuli fed to us with our very limited personal sphere, and fail miserably. There is no way to avoid confusion.
Now it does not seem so impossible that our "News Feed" has merely been generated to provide amusement for some "greater' beings. However, considering the time and energy apparently expended, one could also consider larger objectives.
If we believe that we are being mislead there are several key requirements to counter it successfully:
First, we must be certain that there is wrong information being spread. In the reporting of many recent controversial events this is relatively easy, because there are competing and contradictory narratives. Therefore some of the "facts" must be false, spread either in error or maliciously. Our job is to find the means to nail down at least some of the key facts. (For example: What was Adam Lanza's connection to Sandy Hook Elementary School? Or, why were First Responder Paramedics denied access to the victims till after the forensics team had attended?) If there are solid points of reference a pattern can be formed.
Second, we must identify the primary sources of the competing narratives and seek a pattern of connections between various types and biases in the narratives. (In the prelude to the invasion of Iraq, the American White House was releasing information about "Weapons of Mass Destruction". This information was contradicted by some people in the intelligence services, until the eve of the invasion.) Unless we know exactly who told the story in a certain way, we don't know the weight to give.
Third, we need to identify possible motives for disinformation to create a benefit matrix that would then link certain groups and individuals with certain information biases(Lies??). Sometimes the motives and biases are obvious. ( Philip Zelikow was a White House insider who had effective control over what the 911 commision report contained. How could anyone expect him to publish a report which was critical of the Administration or the President?) Everyone has an agenda, and that agenda need not be obvious.
Fourth, then we need to construct an objective and reliable source, a data base, which publishes only the verifiable facts from specified sources. For many, such a source would be deadly boring. But, much of colour commentary is actually bias by the use of linguistic tricks. Descriptive adjectives can be used to create false images. ("A passer by in a hoodie" automatically becomes a menacing black man; even if the only thing reported was the hoodie.) Facts can be obscured intentionally by use of connotation and association, or they can be skewed by factors as subtle as the reporter's body language. Constructing such a fact base is a huge undertaking. Only the existence of computers and the internet makes it possible. (There are examples of Verification Matrices. The broadest based being the Bitcoin Matrix. In order for a value to be accepted by the system, all other databases must confirm that value.) In such a system the more positive points of reference for a news source, the greater would be the credibility of that reporter, and by extension the more credibility to the story they present. This is not represented by systems such as Face Book where anyone can "Like" a posting without any responsibility or obligation.