I seem to have been surrounded by jubilant Estonians this week. After Kristina Smigun manged to bring home two olympic gold medals, Andrus Veerpalu has added a third. It puts Estonia sixth on the medal table at this point, behind Germany, the US, Russia, Austria and France, but ahead of Norway and Canada, Switzerland and Sweden. Since the population of Estonia is only 1.3 million, the per capita medal ratio is astounding and puts the country firmly at the top of the table. No wonder my friends are wreathed in smiles.
The past decade has seen the rise of so-called "post truth" politics. Instead of mere misrepresentation of facts to serve an argument, political figures began to put forward arguments which denied easily provable facts, and then blustered and browbeat those who pointed out the lie. The political class was able to get away with "post truth" positions because the infrastructure that reported their activity has been suborned directly into the process. In short, the media abandoned long-cherished traditions of objectivity and began a slow slide into undeclared bias and partisanship. The "fourth estate" was always a key piece of how democratic societies worked, since the press, and later the broadcast media could shape opinion by the way they reported on the political process. As a result there has never been a golden age of objective media, but nevertheless individual reporters acquired better or worse reputations for the quality of their reporting and