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Over the past 18 months, we have been hearing a lot about the eruption of “fake news” in our mass media. From supporters of Donald Trump to critics of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, we have heard pundits raise concerns about this phenomenon as if it were something new in our information landscape. What these interpretations all seem to overlook is that myth-making, media manipulation, and propaganda have always been part and parcel of our political culture, it’s just that now everybody is in on it. We had a discussion about the meaning of living in a world where verifiable evidence has become irrelevant, ultimately trashing what had remained of our so-called public sphere.
Mario A. Murillo is Professor of Communication and Latin American Studies at Hofstra University, and is an active member of the Advisory Board of Hofstra’s Center for Civic Engagement. A long-time media activist and award-winning journalist, in his many years in radio he has served as program director, director of Public Affairs programming, and a host and producer at WBAI Pacifica Radio in New York, was a feature correspondent for NPR’s Latino USA, and served as a regular guest host on WNYC New York Public Radio. He is a faculty advisor and producer at WRHU 88.7FM, Hofstra University’s award-winning, student-run, community-licensed radio station. He is the author of Colombia and the United States: War, Unrest and Destabilization (Seven Stories, 2004), and Islands of Resistance: Puerto Rico, Vieques and U.S. Policy (Seven Stories, 2001), and has written and reported extensively about Latin America for a number of publications and journals.
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