Fake news, misinformation, lies or falsehoods—the terms vary, but they often center on the same issue: the circulation of inaccurate or misleading information within the media and its audiences. With more and more people receiving their information and news online and specifically from social media, the unfiltered spread of so-called “fake news” has become a challenge for democracies and constituents. Especially now, in the context of a heated U.S. election, a global pandemic and social protest against policy brutality and racism, an accurately informed audience is crucial in order to engage with these complex topics.
In this seminar, we want to take a closer look at the U.S. media system and how its design might help explain the spread of such fake news. In a society that has become increasingly polarized, what happens when people start living in alternate media realities and what information do they consume? How does the structure of the media system accelerate these developments? In addition, we are going to examine specific cases that were labeled “fake news” and investigate what they have in common and how to spot them more easily. Lastly, we are going to discuss strategies on how counter disinformation and how to practice better media literacy in the classroom. We’re looking forward to tackling these issues with you!
Cover: (c) "jade colbert, varsity eic 2009-2010" (CC BY-NC 2.0) by dave pike.