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The world is in a panic about fake news. From the spectacle of US president Donald Trump, who employs the term freely to lacerate the American media he feels persecuted by, to Facebook and other social media platforms accused of spreading divisive message through societies, the debate has taken on an edge of hysteria. But fear not, writes Gideon Rachman in his latest column. Social media may have created new weapons, but it does not change the essential nature of the battle. The struggle against fake news is an old one.
Throughout the history of the 20th century, whether in Soviet-era Russia or Nazi Germany, regimes based on lies have ultimately collapsed because reality catches up with them. In today’s more open societies, this reality check will happen more quickly. We can already see evidence of its arrival in the unravelling of the Brexit mythologies and the thinning ranks of climate change sceptics. Ultimately, Gideon insists, the truth will out.
Lawrence Summers warns that Donald Trump is claiming credit for the US economy’s strong performance that he is not due. In fact, Mr Trump’s popularity is a result of the buoyant climate, rather than the other way around.
Tatiana Orlova, an emerging markets economist, sees trouble ahead for the Turkish economy if US sanctions begin to escalate. The risk of a balance of payments crisis on the horizon cannot be discounted, especially while President Erdogan continues to ignore expert advice.
Sebastian Payne looks back at Theresa May’s 2016 promise to address Britain’s “burning injustices”. The UK prime minister completely failed to deliver as her government was derailed by the chaos of Brexit negotiations. Her successor must not make the same error.
Anne-Sylvaine Chassany explains the issue that is got the French public hot under the collar this summer. The Macron government’s decision to reduce speed limits on secondary roads to 80km/h down from 90km/h has enraged the country’s drivers.
What you’ve been saying
Let’s call these loans to Pakistan what they really are — usurious: letter from Muhammad Saleem, New Rochelle, NY
Your editorial “ Pakistan puts a spotlight on China’s opaque loans” is illuminating, but you are too kind and generous in describing China’s loans to Pakistani power plants wherein the Chinese lenders are guaranteed returns of 34 per cent as merely “onerous”. Let us call them what they really are: loan sharking and usurious. By comparison, when the Chinese lend to the US by purchasing Treasuries, they are prepared to accept rates of returns as low as 2 per cent. The real issue is one of corruption in Pakistan.
Comment by Hornbill in response to How to fix Facebook?
Surely the only reason that the New York Times is the arbiter of public acceptability or truth is because the forces of law and regulation are breathing down their necks. Why should Facebook not be subject to the same accountability?
Cabbies can take on Uber from a position of strength: letter from Giles Dixon, Richmond-upon-Thames, UK
Instead of going to court over Uber, why don’t the black cab drivers develop their business model so as to challenge Uber head on? After all, they start with a lot of advantages: trained drivers who know their way around better than a sat nav; vehicles designed for the job; use of bus lanes. As for Uber, it is basically an overvalued app, with an administration system that relies on a low wage (and probably high turnover) approach when it comes to personnel. The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association should use its money to create a new structure, probably a partnership among members, and it could tackle Uber from a position of strength.
Trump claims credit he is not due on the economy Growth has exceeded expectations outside the US rather than within it
New speed restrictions on French roads enrage drivers Macron’s popularity dips as the outpouring of anger takes politicians by surprise
Escalating sanctions could cripple Turkey’s economy Russian example highlights the importance of an independent central bank
Forget Brexit, Britain is failing to tackle its burning injustices May promised an agenda of domestic reform, but she has failed to do much about it
There is no need to panic: ‘fake news’ will ultimately lose In today’s more open societies, lying politicians will be caught out by reality checks
The FT View: Jeremy Corbyn is failing Britain with inept opposition The Labour party is mired in a racism scandal at a critical juncture for the country
The FT View: Private equity fees and returns face scrutiny Regulators and investors should demand greater transparency
The Big Read
The Big Read: Car emissions scandal: loopholes in the lab tests Three years after Dieselgate, automakers are still exploiting ‘the lawful but awful ways’ to achieve the best possible scores for CO2 testing in the EU