Everywhere one goes on the Internet, one seems to be barraged with articles talking about “fake news.” Indeed, as Sapna Maheshwari of The New York Times has noted, fake news has “gone viral.” Since the campaign, and subsequent election, of Donald Trump, Google search results for “fake news” have spiked and everyday a new article is being written on how to spot “fake news” or how the Russians used “fake news” to influence the presidential election or how “fake news” is killing democracy. But I want to ask, what makes news real or “fake?”
Update 1/31/17: As the Google analytics map above is dynamic, it will eventually become out of date as this post becomes older and older.
About a month ago I attended the 2016 International Žižek Studies Conference and had the privileged of meeting some fantastic people. Additionally, and of more relevance to any readers of this post, I was awash in new ideas and new things to think about; some of which I am still processing to this day. This post, however, attempts to deal with an issue that was brought up in passing during a Q and A session during a panel. For context: I was in a panel where Dr. Gregor Campbell of the University of Guelph was presenting a paper and we finished before the allotted time ended (due largely to the other participant’s absence) allowing for an extensive Q and A session and discussion. During our conversation, Campbell said, in passing, something that caught my attention and which I am indebted to him for thinking of. Campbell mentioned how people who deny climate change (climate deniers) serve to motivate climate scientists to work harder to prove their theories. While this comment lasted all of maybe 30 seconds, I would like to briefly unpack it and see what implications it has, if true.
A photo of me at the conference. My phone’s camera flipped the image, but the card I’m holding says “Zizek.”