In February 2020 BC (Before Corona), we looked at links between Psychology and many other fields, for example, politics, law, and education. The link with politics has been very evident as we investigated the psychology of the President and voter behaviour.
So, it almost seemed the natural order of things to look at one of the most frequently cited presidential “facts” (after “great again”) - Fake News.
Here is what we chatted about.
President Donald Trump regularly warns against Fake News and will not cooperate with journalists he believes are peddlers of such news. At the same time, he uses social media to promote his views (facts) in a way that no previous President ever has. He likely would not see himself as a peddler of fake news.
“Fake News” is not new. In the era when newspapers and radio were primary sources of information it was generally understood that the views of the owners of these enterprises influenced the angle of the “facts”. Fast forward to 2020 and internet’s almost instant access to a myriad of information and sources (most purporting to be reliable, scouts honor), then add Trumps focus on social media, and voila “Fake News”.
Fake News is untrue information presented as news. The aim of fake news is to damage the reputation of a person or entity or make money through advertising revenue.
Fake News is not viewed as good news. “Fake news poisons the atmosphere that we all operate in. Because fake news exists, audiences are now doubtful about all news. It has really damaged the relationship between audience members and the media.” (Verashni Pillay, Editor-in-Chief, Huffington Post, South Africa. The UNESCO Courier, 2017)
To tease out the notion of Fake News we looked at:
- Three types of Fake News
- Media literacy amongst Australian Children.
- Sources of news for Australians aged 14+years
- How to tell fake news from real news
- Examples of the influence fake news:
- 2016 US Elections where fake news articles outperformed real news
- On-line dating
Checking the veracity of news is complex. Parents, teachers, and the wider community have a daunting task ahead as children/grandchildren learn to filter fake from reliable amongst a huge swathe of information - which is available at the touch of a button at any hour of the day.
As always, if your interest has been piqued, there are references on the website and in the PowerPoints.
Nearing the end of the year has stirred my reflection on the phenomenon called “2020” and the zillion unexpected opportunities that have arisen. I’d like to give a huge shout out to everyone who has ever joined in this experimental class format, suggested discussion topics in the absence of a content plan, and who have helped us iron out crinkles as we mastered Zoom (relative to previous experience). Who would have thought?