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The Impact of Stepping into Post-Truth Era on Thai Politics

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The Impacts of stepping into post-truth era on Thai politics

“Post-truth” is declared to be 2016 word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion or personal belief. This term is widely used to describe the recent political phenomena such as Brexit, the withdrawal of United Kingdom from European Union, and the doubted triumph of president Trump on the American presidential election. Certain scholars even claimed that these were the impact of the world stepping into post-truth era. However, the post-truth era does not affect only the international politics but also domestic society especially in Thailand. It is extremely obvious when critically analyzing Thai social phenomena. Post-truth era impacts Thai society in three aspects: new legitimacy, the downfall of information age, and new type of business.

First and foremost, post-truth era results in new legitimacy on Thai politics. To illustrate, the pre-post-truth Thai government employs the empirical facts to justify their policies. For example, when financial crisis hit Thailand in 1997, the former Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai enacted the policy to increase the budget deficit based on gross domestic products. This was an application of an objective fact; therefore, being acceptable to majority of people because this was the legitimacy in that period of time. On the other hand, when stepping into post-truth era, those facts become almost meaningless because people will just simply disregard them and fancy what they prefer to. It is apparent when Thai government applied the alternative fact, widely known as a formal lie, to convince public opinion not long ago. In order to earn one percent more in value-added tax, the government claimed that the budget was in control; however, Thais must make sacrifices. The earlier statement is actually wrong because, in fact, the budget has been disproportionately decreased since the government was toppled by the military four years ago. Surprisingly, a number of people, who was on the government side, blindly believed it.

With regard to the downfall of information age, the post-truth era has posed the hard-to-solve problem to Thai information industry. To be more specific, the information circulated is not reliable. This incident happens because its priority, affected by post-truth era, is to arouse emotion regardless of the accuracy. As a result, the information perceivers are unable to get the accurate information of those particular issues they want to know or be informed of and that is really damaging. The best example is that I used to describe in above paragraph- the one the government misinformed people of how stable the financial condition it was. In that regard, it is possible that Thais who are credulous are likely to take side of the government and in turn decide something wrong due to that fake news.

The last aspect concerns the emerge of new type of business. To explain, according to the inaccurate information, many have lost their confidence towards the media. In order to maintain and rebuild its reputation, the media is required to adapt itself to this new era. It is apparent in online media specifically the advent of the click-bait headlines. To illustrate, this kind of headline lures the customers with the curiosity-arousing texts and in turn resulting in the irresistibility of the customers to click on that specific headlines. No matter how inaccurate the texts inside are, they are always satisfactory to the customers because they have already finished fulfilling the curiosity of the customers. Moreover, the offline media has adjusted themselves as well. The widespread of the emotion-arousing television programs is sufficient to prove this statement, for instance, the television program named Asia Update which contained the news for those who called themselves The Red Shirts. The news contained in this program was impartial and filled with emotion. However, it had remained for a long period of time before it was forced to be canceled due to the non-economic reason.

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