This three-year funded project was sparked by a paradox I observed when I began to study online digital dissent during the years after September 11, 2001. A professor at Virginia Tech at the time, I spent long hours on the Internet surfing and searching for alternative media accounts about the U.S. invasion of Iraq (see also my web-based project Critical Media Literacy in Times of War).
The paradox? On the one hand, increased public demands for truthful accounts from media and politicians expressed across the blogosphere in online discussion threads, viral videos, and animations (see Who We’ve Talked To for examples). But on the other hand, alongside this demand for truth a post-modern skepticism “that all truth claims are constructions”. In short: the common thought was that the only thing that is certain is that we’re being lied to.
The paradox sparks our study of the motivations of those producing what I call digital dissent — tactical online expressions that counter and subvert corporate-owned news.