“Fake News,” the Media, and constructions of Otherness

• Relationships between media logics and discourses around crime and terrorism,

• “Fake News,” [social] media and political discourses.

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• Discourses of fear and constructions of Self and Other

• The Self is a relational concept- it is always in opposition to or in relation to the Other. Inside/Outside, Exclusion/Inclusion etc.

• The Other is feared, and that which we fear is also Othered

• Security politics are actually instrumental to the creation and maintenance of state identity (Campbell 1998)

• The state actually relies on security politics and a narrative of threat in order to solidify its legitimacy and continued existence

• Over-representation of violence and violent crime in the media. Implications?

– Increases pervasive sense of fear in society

– Links ideas and subjects together in particular ways. Examples?

• Violent ßà Crime; Muslim ßà Terrorist; Gangsßà African Americans etc.

– Framing and representation. The media tells us what to pay attention to and what not to pay attention to.

• Both perpetrator and victim in news stories are informed by “perceived membership”

– In-group= victim/ out-group= perpetrator

– We other those that we fear and fear those that we other

– Serves a dual purpose:

• 1) Establishing a “group sense” of the boundaries of the “us” group

• 2) Through this, create a shared sense of unease and fear around the (threatening) “other”

• So we construct our identity partially on the basis of a shared fear of those who are “not like us”. Why is this significant?

– How would fear of “others” and/or crime and/or terrorism contribute to social control?

• We are becoming more armoured;

• We rely more and more on policing and security structures to police “us” against “them,” so much so that we don’t realize that these same apparatuses and mechanisms are also policing us.

• We begin to freely give up our civil liberties to surveillance and enforcement agents.

• Back to Schmitt: The Sovereign = THE DECIDER

– Decides when “exceptions” to law occur

– Decides who is protected, disciplined, punished, exiled or killed – ULTIMATELY then, sovereign power decides who is IN and who is OUT

• Altheide – the mass media operates as a social institution because it is a “critical carrier and definer of popular culture”

– Mass media formats wield enormous social power (i.e. the capacity to define a situation for oneself or others).

• Homophily- leads to political diversity or polarization?

• (Social) Media- Echo chamber or Public Sphere?

• Conscious manufacturing of opinions- “Fake News?


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