The More You Know: Media and Power

Case Studies from UW Bothell Media & Communication Studies

[Group 6] Recommended Reading


Polage, Danielle C. “Making up History: False Memories of Fake News Stories.” PsycEXTRA Dataset (n.d.): n. pag. Web.

Laursen, Lucas. “Fake Facebook pages spin web of deceit.” Nature (2009): 1089. Web.

Nicas, Jack, and Deepa Seetharaman. “Facebook, Google Act Against Fake News.”Wall Street Journal, Nov 15, 2016, ProQuest Newsstand,

English, Kathy. “The Facts on ‘Fake News’.” Toronto Star, Feb 18, 2017, Canadian Business & Current Affairs Database; ProQuest Newsstand,

“The New York Times’ New Marketing Campaign is Commendable in the War of Fake News.” University Wire, Feb 28, 2017, ProQuest Newsstand,

MARY CULLEN, @MaryCullen7. “Trumping an Industry: The Loss of News.” University Wire, Feb 14, 2017, ProQuest Newsstand,


Robertson, Emily. “Propaganda and ‘manufactured hatred’: A reappraisal of the ethics of First World War British and Australian atrocity propaganda.” Public Relations Inquiry 3.2 (2014): 245-66. Web.

Robertson argues that propaganda is not an isolated force or an independent structure that is solely responsible for affecting the paradigms of people, but rather a component of complex systems thinking in which propaganda is intertwined with existing morals and compelling arguments that aim to shape the minds of the people in the government’s favor.

She argues that while propaganda has become synonymous with lies, there are still shreds of truth as propaganda material is constructed within public discourse with a basis in real world events; albeit an skewed perception with the ability to influence entire populations.

The point of this research article is twofold; to provide a detailed depiction of atrocity propaganda during WW1, and perhaps more importantly to encourage an inquisitive interdisciplinary mind who’s curiosity pushes past the answers, and into the actual genesis of answers.

Topics covered include the atrocity propaganda of WW1, the ethics of propaganda, the intentional “manufacturing” of hatred, and truth behind propaganda.

This article is about atrocity propaganda, however its message is to adopt an interdisciplinary mindset when analyzing situations in order to get multiple perspectives that lead to a more balanced truth.

Emily Robertson is the author. The intended audience are media and communication scholars. In viewing the article metrics, it is revealed that this article has received so little exposure that no quantifiable metric has been developed yet. The reason behind the abysmal influence is that the title is so specific to the topic of propaganda, I believe it would have been dismissed by scholars who were not studying that topic. This is a shame as the underlying message of this article was certainly applicable to all media and communication scholars. This article was published on August 13, 2014.

Studying the topic of propaganda with an interdisciplinary mindset yields numerous benefits for historians, communications, and public relation scholars as we can delve into the deeper layers of the subject with the help of numerous disciplines instead of coming to a premature conclusion based on a lack of multi-perspective information.

This leads to a reduction in misinformation and a more well-rounded understanding not only with regards to propaganda, but with anything at all really.

Thinking deeper and wider about a subject is a fundamental characteristic of any interdisciplinary scholar, as such I highly recommend reading this article as it will open your mind and make you aware of how just about everything functions within an incredibly complex system, which through understanding, we can learn how to control.

This article helped me understand the multi-dimensional properties of propaganda, and moved me away from my previously cut and dry understanding of the topic.

Balmas, Meital. “When Fake News Becomes Real.” Communication Research41.3 (2014): 430-54. Web.

Balmas argues that the perceived realism of fake news is higher in populations that are heavily exposed to fake news while under exposed to hard news (factual legitimate news) than it is in populations that are highly exposed to both fake and hard news.

This means that an effective way of combating fake news is to increase the amount of hard news populations are being exposed to. While not a perfect solution to fighting misinformation, it is a plausible one, as we simply cannot remove fake news from existence.

This article also shows how fake news largely promotes negative sentiments, whereas hard news promotes a balanced view.

The point of this article is to both bring awareness to the problems of fake news, as well as prime readers with the tools necessary to reduce the realism and influence of fake news in their lives.

Topics covered include fake news, hard news, political elections, public opinion, and realism.

I would say this article is about the differences and intentions behind fake and hard news, as well as what we can do to mitigate the ill effects of too much fake news.

Meital Balmas is the author. The intended audience are media and communication scholars. According to the article metrics, the particular article has been shared several times across several different media outlets, resulting in an Altmetric score of 51. This leads me to believe that for a research article, this has been fairly popular, and therefore influential. This article was published on July 24, 2012.

I highly recommend this article to anyone who wants to be in control of their own thoughts instead of being brainwashed by fake news. The wisdom conveyed through this article is instrumental in the media and communications field, as it is our job as scholars to think critically past the point of face value.

While I personally don’t pay much attention to news – fake or hard in general (as the news mainly covers things that are out of my control, and therefore only a contributor to attention fatigue), it is pleasing to know that a large dose of hard news is able to counteract the insidious influence of fake news.

On a darker note, it is also useful to know that increasing exposure to fake news while reducing the amount of hard news is an effective way of mind control, which could lead to large monetary gains in the business field.

This article sheds more detail on the subject of fake news, giving me a deeper understanding of its effects as well as the means to counter them. Truly a vital piece of literature within our research topic of Propaganda, advertising, and fake news.

Marchi, R. “With Facebook, Blogs, and Fake News, Teens Reject Journalistic “Objectivity”.” Journal of Communication Inquiry 36.3 (2012): 246-62. Web.

In the article “With Facebook, Blogs, and Fake News, Teens Reject Journalistic “Objectivity” author Regina Marchi compiled results from surveys taken of teens and their feelings regarding news and their particular ways of consuming news.  Of the teens surveyed, it was found that most of the teens felt that nothing from traditional news sources (broadcast network news and newspapers primarily) related to them.  Furthermore, they felt they could connect more deeply on a personal level with information tailored specifically for them on blog sites and Facebook feeds, posts that they felt they could absorb and contribute to from their own perspectives.

The teens surveyed didn’t trust local and national newspapers and tv to be honest with them – one teen went so far as to say “news is entertainment because everything they repeat is not what people really need to know. It isn’t stuff that can help you.” (Katie, 15).

It’s important to note that teens think people posting on blogs and facebook are being honest and transparent. Embedded links allowed readers to follow a site across multiple channels and garner deeper knowledge about a subject.  Likewise, comment sections allowed teens to hear different angles about a subject, to better help inform their decisions. A third of the teens said they got most of their news from humorous talk or radio shows.  Indeed some researchers have found that “these shows enact the classical watchdog role of the press by striving, through satire, to hold powerful authorities accountable for what they say and do.”  One major problem noted by teens was that “journalists ideally functioned as “watchdogs” protecting the public from government and corporate abuses. Yet this ideal has been eroded in recent decades…..despite this reality, the appearance of objectivity is staunchly maintained by professional news outlets, giving rise to skepticism among the public, particularly the young.”  In many ways it is this objectivity that is most grating to teens.  By not ‘pointing fingers’ at direct individuals, many teens feel the news doesn’t fully get to the heart of the issue – namely, who or what is to blame.

In conclusion, researchers have found that the filter bubble (that is, only reading and absorbing tailored posts) is no more concerning now than it had been previously, the main concern though being that “the question remains whether young people can decipher factual from false information. Bloggers and talk show hosts are riveting sources of opinion, but many do not fact check or show concern for reliability. While this problem is not limited to youth, it underscores the critical importance of media literacy and journalism training for high school students.”

By looking at ways more and more young people are getting their news and what works to make them informed citizens, current journalistic models could be retooled to provide greater news coverage in a context and framework more amenable to teens, the future consumers and voters of tomorrow.

I felt that Marchi uncovered some interesting points and drew them together well, although this article is now five years old (first published Oct 3, 2012) and the ‘fake news’ landscape has changed quite a bit since this was published.  Still, I believe the points uncovered will be important for us as so much information around ‘fake news’ is negative and paints fake news readers as less-intellectual and gullible.  What this article does well is provides other pieces of information about how the youngest citizens interact with the news, and how they learn from it, in a positive way.

No one safe from the fake-news hoax Teitel, Emma. Toronto Star. Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont] 06 Sep 2016: A.6.

While only a newspaper article , I felt this particular piece “No one safe from the fake-news hoax” provided the ‘other side of the coin’ in terms of what fake news can do and how easily it can spread.  I also chose this due to its timeliness, something I didn’t find in any scholarly articles due to the processes they have to go through to get approved and published.This article details how fake news stories – not specifically of a humorous bent, but more tailored to appear as a ‘genuine’ news story – can leak and spread.   Anyone can post anything on Facebook any time they want.  By embracing the instant gratification of Facebook and blogs, you’re getting specifically tailored news.  And sometimes, tailored news becomes a trending article, able to be seen by many outside the tailored circle.  And sometimes, these articles are written from a specific viewpoint (left-wing, right-wing etc) and are ‘disguised’ as real news to push a specific agenda.  In this way propaganda and misinformation can spread and be shared. Real journalists are vetted and practiced and verify their information, and provide news with objectivity.  There is no bias or sarcasm, as so much of the fake news described in the first article I posted.  And while it was shown that much of the fake news absorbed by teens helped them become more involved citizens, this article shows how propagandist, tailored ‘fake news’ can help spread misinformation, false facts not vetted by a reliable journalist.

This article written by Emma Teitel in October of 2016 is more current in regards to how quickly less ‘safe’ forms of fake news have propagated and spread, and the new permutations they have taken – they’re not just humorous news shows any longer.  Some actually present as valid news articles.  While it doesn’t call out teens as being more susceptible to the concerns with fake news, it does nicely encapsulate how easy it is to be taken in by fake news.  By putting this ease of gullibility up against how teens prefer fake news and Facebook feeds over traditional news sites, you can see how it would be easy for teens to be as taken in as anyone else by fake news.  I believe as we are discussing propaganda and fake news, understanding how it can easily be seen as real news is worth further study for our topic.
Carson, James. “What is Fake News? Its Origins and how It is Grew Under Donald Trump.” The Telegraph, 24 Feb. 2017, Accessed 27 February 2017.
The article of James Carson (2017) compares fake news and propaganda as well as analyzes their utilizing in advertising. Carson states that distorting the truth for political reasons is not new. However, modern fake news is generally used for gaining profits rather than for political gains. The author also believes that appearing of social media has greatly increased the amount of fake news because it helped to reduce distribution costs, reduce reputation risks and mitigate regulation. The main point of the article is that fake news is an effective tool of modern advertising because it can bring fast profits. The author of the article James Carson published the article soon after the inauguration of Donald Trump to explain the public the meaning of the phrase “fake news”, which the American leader often uses. Although it is unknown if the article was influential, it requires some attention because it explains the real intentions of fake news’ creators. Besides, it helps to understand the similarities and differences between fake news and propaganda and the use of fake news in advertising.
Dobson, Kathy, and Jeremy Hunsinger. “The Political Economy of WikiLeaks: Transparency and Accountability through Digital and Alternative Media.” Interactions: Studies in Communication & Culture, vol. 7, no. 2, 2016, pp.217-233.
The main arguments of the article of Kathy Dobson and Jeremy Hunsinger (2016) are prevalence of fake news in traditional media and the use of alternative media for raising political policy like transparency and accountability of the government. The article’s point is that traditional media cannot produce reliable content due to their dependence on the government and business interests. Besides, the authors carefully analyze the case with the U.S. Army in Iraq. The journalists of traditional media provided wrong data about the event and only revealing video on WikiLeaks allowed to see the real facts. The article is primary written to the public to encourage them to participate in creating own media content. The article was published in 2016 and it was particularly influential and it is useful because it analyzes the real case and helps to understand the easiness of creating fakes. It also allows to understand the research topic by demonstrating how the government and traditional media create propaganda and fake news.

Okwonga, Musa. “Fake News Meets German Racism.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 23 Feb. 2017. Web. 25 Feb. 2017.

This article from “The New York Times,” and the title for this article is “Fake News Meets German Racism” written by Musa Okwongafeb. In this article, the author notices that the fake news in German has increased dramatically. Only a few days ago, a news reports that a Germen woman has been sexual assaulted by a mob of Arab man in the street of Frankfurt. However, after the investigation, the police found it was baseless. The reporter was reporting this news only based on an interview from a restaurant’s owner and one woman. In this case, fake news is a kind of double-edged sword. In other words, When people do something, people not only get their benefits but also by the drawbacks of some of the impact. However, as long as the adoption of certain measures, it will be able to control the malpractice in the appropriate range and to obtain the greatest benefits. In this article, the author mentioned, “Germany enjoys a reputation as one of the most welcoming nations in the Western world, and in several respects, it is well deserved.” German against racism, but at some point, this is a fake. In fact, from the Middle Ages, the German region is the princes, and in the joints to do a variety of handicrafts and business. In the great maritime era, they has been compressed in the Central European plains, arrogant, and other races is a big nation Least, even if they are compared with their fellow brothers – the Austrians.

“FTC Action Temporarily Halts Operation that Allegedly Used Fake News Sites to Make Deceptive Claims about Acai Berry Weight-Loss Products.” FTC Action Temporarily Halts Operation that Allegedly Used Fake News Sites to Make Deceptive Claims about Acai Berry Weight-Loss Products | Federal Trade Commission. N.p., 01 Dec. 2011. Web. 25 Feb. 2017.

In this article, the Federal Trade Commission tries to permanently stop a large amount of fake news websites for promoting defendant product—Acai Berry Weight-Loss products. These fake news websites claims that Acai Berry Weight-Loss products can help people to lose weight, and tells the customer they can receive free trials, within only pay for a certain amount of money for shipping and handling fees. Once the company has your credit card’s information, they automatically charge the card for each month, which is very hard to cancel. By using this method, those companies earned about $25 millions in the U.S. The Federal Trade Commission is here working for people to prevent financial fraud and unfair trade.

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