Professor Corey Davis, Dept. of Communication, will talk about “’Fake News!’ Conjecture, Conspiracy and Consequences for American Democracy” at the next meeting of the League of Women Voters of the Whitewater Area (LWV) on Thurs., Mar. 15, at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers in Whitewater’s Municipal Building (312 W Whitewater St). From the LWV’s March newsletter:
It has long been a truism that journalists are in the business of selling newspapers with the result that skeptical readers may underrate the seriousness of some headlines. The use of social media for communication, however, has altered the need for skepticism considerably. Whatever the standards for authentication of stories may have been in the age of paper journalism, there is now considerable reason to doubt whatever is coming in electronically without a well-defined source. One effect of this has been to make readers scoff at articles dealing with issues from a point of view with which they disagree. The ability of a candidate to be elected to the presidency of the United States while rejecting much of what passes for news in the mainstream media is a tribute to how far the unwillingness to believe what one does not wish to believe has gone. Readers may not always have accepted what they saw in black and white, but now they are encouraged to give little credence to what comes in on their computer screens.
Exposés and accusations of misbehavior are alleged to be ‘fake news’. Such allegations can take a toll of more than just subscriptions to mainstream media. We know the benefits of a free press, if only from having seen what happens to political life in countries where the government controls the flow of information. Dismissing the information that is unflattering is one way to try to discourage the reading of whatever comes in via a variety of media.
Professor Davis will be examining how this culture of rejecting that with which one disagrees came about and what kind of political future is in store for a country where the most common adjective in front of ‘news’ is no longer ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but ‘fake’.