Analysing the discourses of ‘Fake News’ in televised debates
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Fake news is certainly not a new phenomenon and has been part of media since the invention of the printing press in the 15th century. With the rapid growth of technologies, fake news has become a pervasive concept. Paid news and embedded journalism, for instance, point to deviations from the real or reality. While attempts by media and other actors, macro and micro, to distort reality may have larger political agenda, fake news as an institutionalised entity has the simplest bottom line, which is to monetise news and accrue profit. Before the Internet, publishing fake news and gaining an audience that could be monetised was nearly impossible for three reasons: Distribution and cost, Audiences and trust, Law and regulation (Carson, 2017). But less production cost and the technological affordances that have changed the logic of production and consumption in the Internet have made it untenable and difficult to control the explosion and surge of fake news produced by journalists and citizens. The recent discourses on fake news and its economy find their axis in 2016 presidential election of USA, where Donald Trump was alleged of promoting a series of fake news. However, faking reality is common place and is not specific to any political system or socio-political conditions. Today, both journalists and new technologies are the primary sources of producing and presenting news reports that are far from real. The concept ofhyperreality by Jean Baudrillard is used in this paper. Hyperreality is a special kind of social reality in which a reality is generated from ideas. It is a ‘real’ without ‘origin or reality’, a reality to which we cannot connect or return. This concepthelps in understanding how signs of reality disappear therefore making images of distorted news more real than real. This is the condition of postmodernity that users and readers find themselves in not knowing how to distinguish one from the other. This paper analyses the recent discourses on fake news in televised debates using critical discourse analysis.
Reality, Hyperreality, Fake, Discourse, Television, Social media.