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Opinion

Impact of Post-Truth Media

default article imagePost-Truth (adj.) – Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.

We live in a distorted world where abhorrent misinformation is allowed to thrive in the post-modernity of conventional discourse.

On Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, attorney Rudy Giuliani graced NBC’s “Meet the Press” with his presence to discuss the latest demands by the special counsel of Robert Mueller for a testimony from President Trump himself in-regards to the ongoing investigation of Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election.

 Needless to say, Mr. Giuliani was not too enthralled at the idea of his client walking into the proverbial lion’s den that has been trying to lure him in for over a year now. During his on-air interview with Chuck Todd, Mr. Giuliani uttered a rather chilling line to his host when discussing the matter of truth in this investigation: “truth isn’t truth.”

That single phrase uttered by Giuliani is one that is reminiscent of the Orwellian concept of “doublespeak”—deliberately distorting and even reversing the meaning of words—but is only a relatively small phrase in the context of a much greater story.

Political differences aside, the current state of media in the United States can largely be traced back to two distinct events in the last thirty years. The first one came with the repeal of the FCC’s Fairness Doctrine by the Reagan Administration in 1987; a law that had required media outlets to present controversial issues by covering contrasting views related to those events in a factual manner.

This repeal allowed broadcasters to be as freely partisan as they pleased with little reprisal. The second major event was the advent of the internet in the 1990’s; newer media outlets began to rise to prominence without having to largely endure the scrutiny and regulations that the broadcasters who came before them had. The result is the birth of a new generation of controversial media pundits like Alex Jones and the rise of conspiracy-fueled websites like Infowars and 4chan to serve as echo-chambers that are now accessible to a larger audience.

The impact of this new era of media, without government regulation or even good-faith agreements, is still having its effects on American society studied. But as is the case with President Trump, we have witnessed the birth of a generation of policymakers who openly distort facts and promote largely-unfounded opinions and personal beliefs as the basis for their policy.

Our own president—regardless of if you support him or not—is certainly guilty of this, as indicated by his numerous tirades on Twitter that range on a number of topics without actually providing factual evidence to support these claims, yet readily promotes them regardless because of the emotional and personal appeal to both him and his support base.

So how exactly are we as a liberal society supposed to traverse the preverbal (or quite literal) minefield of post-truth media in the 21st Century? For Monmouth University’s own Nicholas Messina, specialist professor of communication, the answer lies in what he does best: education. “But I would still stress that as this media environment came to be, no formal education came together as to how to traverse through it.

For example, Americans smoked pack after pack because they hadn’t been properly informed about the negative repercussions. Now, we have some of the lowest number of smokers than we’ve ever had. That came through robust education. Such is the case with truth and fact as it relates to news.”

 Educators like Messina see the problem of the real fake news and how it has come to affect the world around us and realize that the best way to solve the problems of today and prepare for the problems of tomorrow is a devotion to the educational institutions in our country.

At this point we can no longer just sit and wait for the problem of post-truthism in media to simply disappear, and must take any action necessary to cure this cancer on our society to ensure the freedom and stability that we as a republic have enjoyed for so long.

Contact Information

CAMPUS LOCATION
The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

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The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey
07764

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu