Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Citations Needed, Episode 18: Fake News Panic and the Silencing of Dissident Media

Since Hillary Clinton's surprise 2016 electoral loss to Donald Trump, there have been thousands of articles, columns, and op-eds lamenting the rise of so-called “Fake News” and its pernicious effect on our democracy. The definition of what exactly "Fake News" is has never quite been made clear - yet this hasn’t stopped major corporate media outlets and even the U.S. Congress from rushing to curb this uniquely pernicious and dangerous "threat."

The primary response to this alleged crisis - the creation of a tiered, fact-checking system for social media that effectively bifurcates “real news” and “fake news” - has many in alternative, Leftist, and libertarian media claiming the anti-Fake News algorithms made by Twitter, Facebook, and Google have reduced their web traffic and readership. While it’s difficult to gauge the specifics of these individual reports, it does seem clear at this point that dissident media has taken a hit from efforts to stop co-called “Fake News.”

So what are the origins of this panic and whom does it benefit? How can one protect against obvious bullshit without bestowing the power to arbitrate truth unto a handful of U.S. national security state-aligned corporations and tech giants?

In this episode, we dive into the Fake News hole with Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, New York Times best selling author, and activist Chris Hedges.


The Show


The Guest

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, New York Times best selling author, former professor at Princeton University, activist and ordained Presbyterian minister.

He has written 11 books, including the New York Times best-seller “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt” (2012), which he co-authored with the cartoonist Joe Sacco. His other books include "Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt," (2015) “Death of the Liberal Class” (2010), “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle” (2009), “I Don’t Believe in Atheists” (2008) and the best-selling “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” (2008). His book “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” (2003) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and has sold over 400,000 copies. He writes a weekly column for the website Truthdig in Los Angeles, run by Robert Scheer, and hosts a show, On Contact, on RT America.

Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries during his work for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.


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Citations Needed is a media criticism podcast, hosted by Adam Johnson and Nima Shirazi, political commentators and media analysts working to call bullshit on (usually corporate) media’s ubiquitous reliance on and regurgitation of false and destructive narratives, tropes and stereotypes.

Citations Needed is produced by Florence Barrau-Adams. Our Production Consultant is Josh Kross. The theme is ‘Nonphenomenal Lineage’ by Grandaddy.


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