Beyond Reason: Emotion and Affect in Post-Truth Information Warfare
This talk provides an overview of crises of truth within the contemporary media landscape, and urges educators to consider the emotional and affective dynamics of news consumption and social media networks. Participatory media culture provides new opportunities for democratic participation and grassroots influence. At the same time, crises of post-truth, partisan polarization, and increasing mistrust of news sources and politicians pose severe challenges to democratic processes. Within the context of infotainment, spectacle, and reliance on social networks for information, educators face dilemmas in preparing citizens to navigate information economies. Of particular concern are the rise of 'computational propaganda' (political bots) and 'algorithmic governance'. This talk outlines new approaches to understanding the affective dimensions of information warfare--the "felt truths" and "deep stories" that underlie citizens' political values and decisions. In conclusion, the presentation urges educators to refuse a return to traditional Enlightenment values that privilege reason and rationality to the exclusion of emotion and affect. Media specialists are invited to develop new understandings of the role of emotion and affect in evaluating journalism, politics, and media literacy.