Where the real 'facts' are not available or even presented through an outlet that is known to aim for rigorous objectivity (like this forum! :) ), then, it seems the democratic political process becomes undermined as a 'race to the bottom' ensues, with the 'truth' just being one person's biased 'word' against another's.
Those who have never heard of the panic caused by a radio play version of The War of the Worlds - reporting that the earth was being invaded by aliens, are probably not aware of the potential for trusted mass media communications to be 'hijacked' by fictional accounts created to induce fear.
However, now we have 'Post-Truth Politics' as if truth were a thing of the past for nerdy scientists or naive engineers:
debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details of policy, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored. Post-truth differs from traditional contesting and falsifying of truth by rendering it of "secondary" importance. The contemporary origin of the term is attributed to blogger David Roberts who used the term in 2010 in a column for Grist. It became widespread during the 2016 presidential election in the United States and the 2016 referendum on membership in the European Union in the United Kingdom. Political commentators have identified post-truth politics as ascendant in American, Australian, British and Indian politics, as well as in other areas of debate, driven by a combination of the 24-hour news cycle, false balance in news reporting, and the increasing ubiquity of social media
As a result, it seems that America now has Trumpism, and the UK has Brexit:
Facebook staff mount secret push to tackle fake news, reports say
Brexit: CPS considers complaint that leave campaigns misled voters
What a crazy situation - the truth doesn't matter anymore. Debate just becomes a formality to see who can push emotional buttons the best. Nations become ruled by internet trolls. Why not just joust for the leadership? Screw elections and just cut to the chase - gladiator pits or perhaps just civil wars. Where the truth does not matter, then the only thing that matters is whether one is still alive or not.