Parallax Views w/ J.G. Michael

The Anatomy of Fake News w/ Nolan Higdon

July 20, 2020


On this edition of Parallax VIews, fake news has been thrown about by both Republicans and Democrats since the 2016 election, but what does it mean? Nolan Higdon of Project Censored joins us to discuss his new book The Anatomy of Fake News: A Critical News Literacy Education. We begin how discussing how the term "fake news" gained popularity, how "fake news" is a reality beyond being a meme turned into a cultural phenomena thanks to Donald Trump, and the PropOrNot "fake news" list that targeted a number of left-wing websites, like Counterpunch and the Black Agenda Report, as Russian propaganda and why such lists are dangerous. We then move on to discussing what fake news is in the context that Nolan uses it, his books non-partisan, broad approach to the topic, and historical examples of fake news like the proto-tabloid penny press (and the story of Christopher Columbus!?). In addition we also talk about:


- The necessity of a free press for a healthy, functionining democracy

- The Daily Show's , the proble of satirical news like Last Week Tonight w/ John Oliver, The Daily Show w/ Trevor Noah, and Full Frontal w/ Samantha Bee

- Corporate media's pro wrestling representation of politics; former WCW executive Eric Bischoff's TedX Talk on how political media mirror the dynamics of pro wrestling storytelling; the problems arising from a media ecosystem that runs off a narrow Red Vs. Blue dichotomy

- Why we need critical media literacy if we hope to maintain a healthy democracy

- The danger of looking towards Silicon Valley to solve the problem of fake news

- TV personalities (talking heads?) vs journalists; news consumers being unable to distinguish between op-ed and hard-nosed reporting

- Combat TV news and sensationalism; the media ecosystem focusing on sensationalism rather than policy and keeping voters informed

- The media ecosystem's potential role in the rise of phenomena like Trumpism, Brexit, and right-wing populism etc.

- Nolan's experiences teaching young people about fake news and critical media literacy


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