There's a German language group which meets once a year to put up various newly created words, which were hyped over the past twelve months, and they pick the word-of-the-year. So in 2016, "Postfaktisch" was selected. "BREXIT" was number two.
Postfaktisch? To be honest, I can only remember one single time in 2016 that I heard the word....some presentation in October with Chancellor Merkel.
Meaning? It's where "the facts" are laid in a public discussion or chat forum, and ultimate decision by the public.....are ultimately determined less by actual or real facts.....more so by emotions and personal opinions.
As you stand there and pause over this thought....it'll slowly hit you....it's where fake topics, fake agendas, fake chat points, fake news....all takes something into a discussion, and they all have an impact on you to pick a side which probably isn't the side with facts. Or at least the German intellectuals who own the word seem to think this.
If you just had the facts....you'd step to the right side and make wise decisions. Simple....would you not admit?
Well, no, it's not that simple.
Most news or stories exist with a couple of facts. The bulk of a news item or story is simply filler material....historical commentary....personal opinion....slanted chat....etc.
I'll give you a couple of examples of this false Postfaktisch talk:
1. Every year in Germany, as Hiroshima Day (6 Aug) or Nagasaki Day (9 Aug) occurs, there's this long presentation on Channel One or Two. The basis is the bad USA used nukes in a inhuman way, and that there potential talks of peace about to start. Germans have viewed this yearly for thirty-odd years and most all of them have fallen into the "Postfaktisch pit".
The angle of this emotional appeal is that some negotiation was about to start and therefore there was no need for the bombs to be dropped. Then you turn to one simple fact....after the leaflets of the Potsdam Conference were dropped over Japan, the Prime Minister (Suzuki).....said that surrender was not possible. It's a simple fact that peace negotiations were not going to be engaged. After the bombs, negotiations were possible.
Personal opinion written into the German angle on this story? Yeah.
2. The 31 December 2015 Koln New Year's Eve sexual assaults. Six hundred sexual assault police reports were turned into the police and recorded. One city....one evening. You can't find another episode like this over the past sixty years in Germany (since the war ended). The massive bulk of these police reports all go to non-Germans.
Is there a problem in Koln? Over and over, by the local authorities, political players, and police comissioners....no, there is no problem. A few mistakes were made but Koln is a safe place.
The simple fact is that 600-plus police reports indicate that sexual assaults or groping occurred in a very short period of time on one particular night. You can slant this anyway you want.....public opinion goes to the direction that there is something wrong. Some people have failed in their oath to protect people. Personal opinion written into the various stories to limit commentary over that evening? Yes, it appears so.
3. Why has refugees and asylum in Germany been a limited topic for the past 11 months? Well, it goes to one simple fact. Germany and the EU sat with Erdogan and promised two things (all facts and no debate). First, roughly 3 billion Euro would flow from the EU to Turkey to pay for taking care of refugees there. Second, that entry into the EU for Turkey would be discussed and that a free-visa situation would eventually come out of this for Turks. These are facts, with no debate.
In a Postfaktisch world, Germans believe with their opinion that the entire mess with the refugees has been halted. In essence though, Erdogan of Turkey simply holds back the flow until it is an opportune moment and will release the flow of refugees...into Greece and onto Germany. If the EU doesn't follow through with EU entry or the free-visa deal, the entire thing falls apart.
4. The populist discussion. Ever since BREXIT and the vote....German journalists and political players have hyped up the populist topic. What facts exist for this topic? It's very limited. You can bring up actual elections in Italy and the UK, plus the US Presidential election.
The problem is that in a democracy (doesn't matter what variety...whether US, French, German or Swiss).....you always come back to each person's single vote. Ever since democracies were "invented", they are all tied to a populist view. You can pretend democracies are safe, sheltered, and free from danger....but it's mostly personal opinion on your current status and whether you fit that profile or not.
Postfaktisch is a gimmick....pure and simple. It gives you political leverage to pull this 'tool' out and use it in public forum and make people think that personal opinions can only be made with facts. The attitude is that you can't use a sway-factor or emotions in this moment of decision. Yet the guy talking and using all this Postfaktisch-chatter....is pulling on your emotions and using a maximum amount of sway-factor to get you to his or her side.
Postfaktisch is like fake news. It's just a tool to persuade you. Nothing else.