The Information Politics of Journalism in a Post-Truth Age

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Abstract

In the so-called post-truth age, criticism challenging the representational accuracy and political orientation of journalists has become an indelible part of the realm of political contestation. Although “post-truth” is riddled with conceptual shortcomings, its usage to describe the contemporary epistemic moment directs attention to the underlying issues it encompasses. This is particularly the case for journalism in the United States where antagonism toward journalists has already been a regular feature of political discourse, and has been magnified through the rhetoric of Donald Trump. Journalists face increasing challenges in their attempt to occupy the symbolic communicative center of democratic society while remaining outside of governing power. Contemporary information politics are marked by a power struggle among competing groups to not merely contest claims within journalistic content but to contest the journalists making the claims. Given this context, this article argues that the epistemic context of contemporary journalism demands that journalists do more to develop arguments legitimating their claims to render valid judgments. This metacommunication includes a more vigorous and public articulation of the social value journalists offer, a self-critical stance through which they can address their weaknesses and limitations, and a defense against self-interested criticism directed at them by political actors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1879-1888
Number of pages10
JournalJournalism Studies
Volume19
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 3 2018

Keywords

  • authority
  • information politics
  • journalism
  • metajournalistic discourse
  • post-truth
  • press criticism
  • professionalism

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