Post-Truths, Fake & False News -Prof. Ujjwal K Chowdhury


Taking recourse to numerous global studies, Prof. Ujjwal K Chowdhury throws light on the oft-repeated concepts of post-truth, fake news, false news and suggests ways to combat the menace

Post-truth represents a situation when facts take the backseat and emotional appeals and personal beliefs start shaping public opinion. Post-truth politics (also called post-factual politics and post-reality politics) is defined as a political culture in which debate is framed largely by emotional appeals, and by the repeated assertion of talking points ignoring factual rebuttals. Post-truth differs from the traditional contesting and falsifying of truth by relegating truth to be a concern of secondary importance. In 2016, ‘post-truth’ was chosen as the Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year subject to the Brexit referendum and the U.S. presidential election.

In 2015, media and politics scholar Jayson Harsin coined the term ‘regime of post-truth’ covering many aspects of post-truth politics. He argues that a convergent set of developments have created the conditions of post-truth society: the political communication informed by cognitive science, which aims at managing perceptions and beliefs of segmented populations through techniques like micro-targeting which includes rumours and falsehoods; the fragmentation of modern and more centralised media; the attention economy marked by information overload, user-generated content and fewer trusted authorities to distinguish between truth and lies; the algorithms which govern what appears in social media and search engine rankings, based on what users want and not on what is factual; and news media which have been marred by plagiarism, hoaxes, propaganda and changing news values.

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Outlook, 10 July, 2018,

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