CSCL1912: Fake News

3 CreditsFreshman SeminarIntellectual Community

What is "fake news"? This term used to refer mainly to satires about the news, like The Daily Show and The Onion. Nowadays, "fake news" can mean absolutely anything from political humor, to profiteering click-bait, to blatant disinformation (i.e., "alternative facts"). Or, one can attempt to discredit fact-based reporting as "fake news" if you simply don't want to hear it. In this course, we will think about the problem of "fake news" in its radical range of connotations. First, we will study humorous genres of news reporting, including literary farce, corporate hoaxes, mockumentaries, political parody, "truthiness", and more. Second, we will investigate the history of journalism, from the nineteenth century crisis of "yellow journalism" to our present day, post-truth news media climate. For example, when did journalists begin to strive for ideals of objectivity, impartiality, and fact-based reporting? Finally, we will think philosophically about the very meaning of what is "fake" in relation to issues of truth, reality, authenticity, originality, mimesis, and representation.

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