This presentation considers how populism and “fake news” are influencing government decision making and policy outcomes.
A literature scan forms the base for consideration of a range of issues from the role of fake news, whether the concept is new, ans what role social media plays. Consider the nature of misinformation compared to disinformation; The influence on policy makers at the political and bureaucratic levels will be examined along with the advocacy tools that can and should be used by public health professionals.
Influencing governments at the political and bureaucratic levels is extraordinarily challenging in the light of fake news, the tendency to cherry pick evidence and a range of other misrepresentations. However, there are tools available that will be suggested to counter this type of influence.
Lessons may be learnt from the past and particularly from the techniques by the tobacco and alcohol industries – that have always employed misrepresentation as part of their techniques to influence consumption of their products. Use of traditional and social media more effectively by those seeking to influence government plays an important role.
The implications for public policy include: a shared vision, a coordinated effort, ability to sell the message, and willingness to be opportunistic by public health professionals enabling advocates to overcome undue commercial influence.
Michael Moore AM is the former CEO of the Public Health Association of Australia and is the Immediate-Past President of the World Federation of Public Health Associations. He is the chair of a number of health networks. He is a Distinguished Fellow at The George Institute, an Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra and Visiting Professor at the University of Technology Sydney, was formerly a teacher and consultant and served four terms as an elected member of the ACT Legislative Assembly from 1989 to 2001. Michael was Australia’s first independent Minister on being appointed as Minister of Health and Community Care. In 2017 he was honoured by being made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).