Post-Truth Politics with Vinita Srivastava
Vinita Srivastava is the senior editor of culture and society for The Conversation Canada, and host of the podcast Don’t Call Me Resilient, as well as a research associate with the Global Journalism Innovation Lab. This episode, Vinita and Elizabeth chat about post-truth politics and the idea that how people feel about information is sometimes more influential than the actual facts. They discuss differences between the facts contained in a story versus the perspective of who is telling a story, as well as the question of which stories get told, who gets to decide that, and the idea of truth as a product of power.
- Elizabeth notes that “post-truth” was Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year in 2016. This Washington Post story explains why (and also gives a good overview of the term).
- Elizabeth mentions that a key feature of a post-truth world is that there are no longer “universally recognized arbiters or referees of fact.” This idea comes from David Roberts’ 2013 post on Grist. There is also general consensus that Roberts coined the term “post-truth politics” in this earlier post.
- For a more academic take, philosopher Lee McIntyre wrote a book called Post-Truth. Here’s a 2020 interview with him.
- Also, this article by Matt Carlson looks at how the concept of post-truth politics affects journalism specifically.
- Elizabeth brings up the concept of the “relativization of facts.” Learn more about that in this article by Sebastien Schindler.
- Vinita gives an example of how India’s press is being muzzled by its government. Reporters Without Borders generates an annual World Press Freedom Index to track where press freedoms are being violated and how. (India ranked 142 of 180 in 2020; Canada was 14th and the U.S. was 44th).
- Vinita brings up the old adage that journalism is “the first draft of history.” Here’s the backstory of that saying.
- Elizabeth talks about how emotion is a big part of mis and dis information. Check out this study that showed how anger contributes to the spread of misinformation. This was also something Claire Wardle talked about in her episode earlier this season on information disorder. Listen here.