The current events in the USA seem to suggest that we are entering a new stage in #PostTruth politics.

We could call it “quantum truth” (or “Schrödinger’s facts”, for the cat lovers out there).

A short thread (1/n)
Many examples show that the notion of factual truth (or “facts”) is strongly anchored in perceptions and partisanship.

The size of a crowd is now a matter of interpretation, and “alternative facts” have the same epistemological value as quantifiable realities.

We have been observing this for a few years.

Now a new dynamic emerges on top of the normalization of alternative narratives: pushing *opposed narratives*

#Trump is simultaneously “doing very well” (his physician), and “showing very concerning vitals” (COS Meadows)

Both narratives, as far as we can tell from WH official communication at this moment, are *true at the same time*. The cat is both alive and dead.

No official communication exists (ttbomk) that puts one against the other.

Does this matter? Of course it does

Alternative narratives can easily be used to spin past events.

Promoting opposed narratives can accomplish something even more important: facilitate the spin of *future* events, regardless of what may come.

We are in flux as to whether #TrumpHasCovid is a bane or boon for his campaign

What would help his case?

Public opinion data will soon provide some first answers to this question. Does his base prefer to see him going through a hard time, or downplaying the pandemic?

If suggesting that the virus is a “nothing burger” (Bolsonaro) helps, narrative A will prevail. He was doing well

If projecting a “Jesus” (“I am suffering for you”) or “Superman” (“I overcame a death sentence”) image helps, narrative B will prevail. He went through hell

Quantum truth allows you to plant the seeds of *future spins*. Facts, even future ones, matter even less.

It also allows to work retrospectively (“We have been saying it from the beginning”). Just remind the public that you pushed the narrative before.

Is it tricky to push opposed narratives? Reason would suggest that yes, it is. In reality, however, all it takes is simply to allow each narrative to ignore the other.

As long as Meadows and Trump’s physician do not have to compare their statements, both will coexist.

For sure this point has been made already many times, by many keener observers

Looking at media framing (WaPo: “Conflicting statements create uncertainty”), perhaps it is worth considering that confusion is not necessarily a sign of ineptitude.

It is easy to dismiss the existence of these contradictory narratives as yet another example of "the usual clusterf*ck". Perhaps so. Or, perhaps, some have come to realise that uncertainty can be strategic.

Ok, a last one. Just as I finished typing this, the CNN chyron reads: "Trump furious at COS Meadows." Perhaps so. At this very moment the docs seem to suggest he is "still" doing fine. Let's see how these narratives evolve.

(over and out)
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