Santa Tracking: A Phony News Litmus Test Nobody Will Dare Enforce

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A NORAD ANG NCO controller. Image from Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.

For those who think that censoring and banning forms of phony news is any sort of realistic answer with respect to news media and social network platforms (I’ll call them outlets) here’s a really simple litmus test. If these outlets aren’t willing to censor based on this one item below, we can conjecture they actively support phony news and/or are applying double standards to their censorship and banning.

Said Marshall McLuhan, “Art is anything you can get away with.” Likewise it seems with censorship of said phony news. But to anyone with a brain, censorship is obviously the worst response.

Pretend for a moment that the current spate of censorship against phony news is being done seriously, with logical, clear, and transparent processes designed to directly put an end to fakery. (I don’t believe this for a second.)

From description on Wikimedia, “Lie detective Rex Stout and Producer Paul White, of Columbia Network’s ‘Our Secret Weapon,’ [a CBS Radio Program] go over a batch of phony Nazi radio and newspaper claims preparatory to passing the lie to Hitler and his champ pipe-dreamer, Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels.” Image in Public Domain.

If indeed outlets want to engage in information warfare against phony news, I have one simple litmus test that they can begin enforcing across the board. Any news media or social media platform that has previously applied censorship is instructed to enforce this litmus test’s results across the board, without bias. Those media outlets who do not enforce the litmus test’s results can be assumed to support and condone outright fakery in journalism.

In applying the litmus test, I also suggest we hold especially the news media to the legal principle falsus in uno, a witness who willfully testifies falsely about one matter is not credible to testify about any matter.

So let’s apply our litmus. Think back to December 24th into the early morning hours of December 25. Did any news media or social network platform create, or disseminate, or otherwise help propagate the fake news that the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracked Santa?

If they did, they helped spread phony news. Sorry Virginia and Francis Pharcellus Church.

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Virginia Hanlon, Letter to the Editor asking about the veracity of Santa Claus. Wikimedia commons, Public Domain

It’s true NORAD did something, probably using American tax dollars to do so, but for apparent reasons, they did not track a person named Santa Claus driving a sleigh with reindeer through the air at 3,000 times the speed of sound, or 650 miles per second (See The Physics of Santa Claus). Some media have run this fraudulent story of NORAD’s tracking of Santa for quite a few years.

In order to avoid accusations of supporting phony news, of holding double standards, or operating with loose journalist ethics, any outlet that ran the story about NORAD and Santa Claus ought now be banned from platforms just as other sites which are claimed to have run fake news have been banned.

In addition to the many news sites, Twitter hosted twitter.com/noradsanta. Time for them to ban themselves? Similarly with facebook, www.facebook.com/noradsanta. According to the Manchester Evening News, “And global tech giant Google, with their all-seeing eye on the world’s internet, are also using their might and capabilities to ensure Santa can be tracked.…” Will Google too ban itself? Apparently the United States military is supporting this fake news too. See http://www.norad.mil/About-NORAD/NORAD-Tracks-Santa/. I wonder, will media and social platforms ban US government military sites?

As I said before, nobody will dare enforce the results this litmus test.

References:

Harden, L. (n.d.). The Physics of Santa Claus: A Scientific Disproof of the Santa Theory, and a couple of Rebuttals Thereto. Retrieved from http://www.daclarke.org/Humour/santa.html

Stuart, A. (December 24, 2018). NORAD Santa Tracker 2018: Where is Father Christmas Now? Manchester Evening News.

Novelist, poet, a post-studio visual artist, and the founder of The Invisible Art Collective International. Recent novels include “Sundre” and “Garbage Head.”

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