The More You Know: Media and Power

Case Studies from UW Bothell Media & Communication Studies

[NULL] Zac’s annotations

Fake news and alt-facts have given rise to a discourse based primarily on misinformation which is aggregated by the curation algorithms that search engines and social media sites employ. They give no quarter to the legitimacy and objectivity of information, therefore posing a significant threat to the ideologies of effected people, as they begin to shift their discourse from facts to alt facts. We must remain vigilant of the information we consume, taking into consideration the sources and their agendas before absorbing them as truth.

Robertson, E. (2014). Propaganda and ‘manufactured hatred’: A reappraisal of the ethics of First World War British and Australian atrocity propaganda. Public Relations Inquiry, 3(2), 245-266.

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, M. (2014). When Fake News Becomes Real. Communication Research, 41(3), 430-454.

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.

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