I am very excited to have been invited to deliver a keynote at the Media Meets Literacy Conference this September organized for media education specialists from across the EU. The other Keynote Speaker is Evgeny Morozov, whose work addresses the limits and risks of using internet and social media as explored in his book The Net Delusion: the Dark Side of Internet Freedom. The conference is preceded by a two-day Propaganda Lab workshop with Prof. Renee Hobbs (Rhode Island University) & Igor Kanizaj (Foundation of Media Culture).
This news piece reflects 3 months of my intensive analysis of news coverage and recent studies from think tanks and watchdog orgs. I aim to catalyze debate on questions largely unasked to date, regarding news media responsibility for producing and legitimizing Trump–and the consequent perils to representative democracy.
“Although the US corporate media helped to produce Donald Trump, his unpredicted rise to power delivered a shocking wake-up call to media professionals and catalyzed unprecedented global debates about “post-truth politics.” Yet news media continue producing the spectacular and lucrative reality television show, “Trump Making America Great Again.” While the crisis of polarized US is blamed on far-right news, filter bubbles and social media, traditional mainstream news media are not being held responsible. Business as usual is supremely risky in times of crisis: routinized reporting habits, amplification and repetition of lies dangerously normalize Trump and his administration. As the countdown of democracy’s slide into tyranny progresses, like it or not, the future of democracy rests in the hands of the journalism industry.”
**Please take a moment on the Truthout.org article to comment on and/or “Like” my news analysis, to help catalyze inquiry into media responsibility for producing and normalizing Trump!**
And many thanks to my fabulous 2016-17 team of Graduate Research Assistants, Elizabeth Davis, Maral Karimi, and Yara Kodershah, with whom I am currently tracking when and how traditional media re-evaluate their Fourth Estate responsibilities to informing citizen and democracy. We are conducting a content analysis comparing media attention to truthiness (Word of the Year 2005-06) and “post-truth” (Word of the Year 2016-17) to explore public opinion as shaped by longings for ‘truth’, collective emotions, and information warfare.
Many of us are struggling to make sense of the changing relationship of news media, collective emotions, public crisis of trust, and information warfare in this era of Trumpiness. My new research brings together the studies I have pursued throughout my career. In this frightening historical and political moment, I am working hard to bring together my inquiries into emotion, truthiness, and growing crisis of American trust in media since after 9/11, to provide an ontological account of how and when truths are produced, as an alternative to epistemological accounts. In outlining an ontological account of truth, I will be working to show how we can understand truth not as “content” but truth as an event, how truth happens. We can now speak of the “Likelihood of Truth,” the conditions in which truths are produced, taken up.
Ironically, for those who have joined the affect theory bandwagon, excited to see emotion and affect finally given a palce on the Enlightenment stage: hold your seat. Already we are seeing invocations of “reason,” “Enlightenment,” etc. as ways to bring back Truth. Or, as the New York Times reifies in its recent ad, “The Truth” is making a return–arguably, for all the right reasons in an era of Trumpiness. But the progress made since the 1980s by scholars working to show how truths are produced, will now face a backlash not only from committed positivists, but from liberal and even potentially radical left sources seeking to reinstitute common truths to shore up against Trump and company.
Meanwhile, I want to highlight the work I’ve done that speaks to the zeitgeist and history of the evolution of truthiness from the Bush Administration years to the present. It is a mistake to consider “post-truth” a new phenomenon; as Colbert recently told us, “‘post-truth’ is just a rip off of ‘truthiness’.”
Follow me on Twitter as I am striving to note key analyses related to questions of the evolution of truthiness as we make sense of the contemporary crises of trust in credible sources and truthtelling within contexts of liberal democracies.
Here are some of my previous essays that provide backdrop to the current debates regarding “post-truth”:
The book then sparked a one-day symposium for the UK book launch of DIY Citizenship, convened by Mandy Rose and Amy Spencer, hosted by UWE Bristol’s Digital Cultures Research Centre at the Pervasive Media Studio, Watershed, Bristol.
Here is Parts 1 and 2 of Henry Jenkins blog interview of Boler and Ratto on DIY Citizenship…
Boler, M. and Christina Nitsou, Women Activists within the Leaderless Occupy Wall Street: Consciousness-Raising and Connective Action in Hybrid Social Movements, in McCaughey, M.(ed), Cyberactivism (second edition) NY: Routledge (2014).
Reilly, Ian and Megan Boler. “Satire and Social Change: The Rally to Restore Sanity and the Future of Politics,” Communication, Culture and Critique (forthcoming 2014)
Boler, Megan and Selena Nemorin. “21st Century Propaganda: the Shifting Landscape of News,” in Oxford University Handbook of Propaganda, eds R Castronovo and J Auerbach. (2013)
…come on down to the American Educational Research Associate conference (some 30,000 intl attendees!) and catch PI Dr Megan Boler discussing our SMRT research team’s preliminary findings on a panel titled “DIY Media & Youth Engagement.”
WHEN: Saturday April 27 at 2:15 pm. WHERE: Building/Room: Grand Hyatt, Ballroom Level – Grand Ballroom West http://tinyurl.com/c78aptk
Dr. Boler’s talk,”From Apathy to Occupy Wall Street to 4th Wave Feminism: Youth Practices of Social Media and Participatory Democracy” will discuss new findings from our 20 interviews with women activists from the west and east coasts. Our research questions include: How are social media shaping new, hybrid (on and offline) social movements? How is “horizontalism” as an organizational structure effecting the successes and challenges of movements such as Occupy Wall Street? What are the gender dynamics and women’s roles in Occupy movement? She will presenting alongside wonderful colleagues: