10 January 2019
Proposed Project Title
Disinformation and Media Manipulation
Proposed Research Area
Journalism and Ethics
Media Theories and Media Manipulation
Proposed Research Question
How is fake news used as propaganda?
Rationale for choosing this topic
Most people in the world have been misinformed at some point in their lives. Whether it was due to communication noise such as semantic noise or psychological noise, or even intentionally by a source of information. This paper will see if people are aware that they are being manipulated intentionally or unintentionally, why and how they are being manipulated, and lastly why is disinformation unethical.
Disinformation, or more specific, fake news, is a type of Yellow Journalism or Propaganda consisting of deliberate disinformation or hoaxes spread through broadcast news, traditional print or social media. It can be seen on social media, or sometimes even on television like on Fox News. They can be network producers who are furthering an agenda or even just internet trolls. Internet trolls are people who get satisfaction from provoking reactions from other people online usually with offensive humor disguised as feigned ignorance.
Trolls have a history of manipulating the mass media to call out hypocrites, learning early on how to target public figures and organizations to amplify their efforts through mainstream media. They have often claimed to be apolitical and explained their use of shocking imagery as merely a convenient tool to offend others.
Yellow Journalism that presents little or no legitimate well researched news while instead using eye-catching headlines for increased sales. Techniques include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism. Sensationalism is overhyping present biased impressions on events which may cause manipulation to the truth of a story. They appeal to emotions, are controversial, intentionally leave out facts and information, are loud and self-centred and act to obtain attention. Examples of sensationalism are the OJ Simpson murder case and the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal. Yellow journalism can be spotted when an publication uses: scare headlines in huge print, lavish use of pictures, or imaginary drawings, fake interviews, misleading headlines, pseudoscience and lastly a parade of false learnings from so-called experts.
Propaganda are subjective or one sided messages used to manipulate the public’s perception on an issue or thing, to further an agenda, often by presenting facts selectively. (refer to IMC textbook for more details and examples.Disinformation is false information spread deliberately to deceive.
Clickbait are Text or Images that are designed to entice the users to follow that link and read, view or listen to the linked piece of online content Clickbait headlines or titles typically aim to exploit the “curiosity gap”, providing just enough to satisfy their curiosity without clicking through to the linked content.
The author claims that the media intentionally uses fake news to manipulates their stories as a tool of social control. Some would argue that the media would not do this because they have nothing to gain, but according to the Introduction to Mass Communication study guide, newspapers and television broadcast organizations are businesses first and have people who pay their salaries. It is a conflict of interest because no one person can be completely unbiased. Furthermore, in Noam Chomsky’s book ‘Manufacturing Consent’ he claims that mass media tell us what those in power need them to tell us. And that democracy is staged with the help of media that work as propaganda machines. Chomsky is known as the father of modern linguistics.
This paper will benefit everyone who consumes content that is distributed extensively, such as in social media and in traditional media as well. This covers most people today. In one form or another, every person uses technology. Whether it is to keep track of news or for entertainment, they are all vulnerable to media manipulation. The author hopes to raise awareness on the issue, so each person would not blindly believe everything they read or hear.
The research will be done in two ways. Primary research using proquest and google scholar, to find journals and articles that are about media manipulation, fake news and propaganda. And it will Analyze examples of these things. It will see if news articles, videos and broadcasts have any signs of propaganda or manipulation, using the definition and characteristics that have been researched. After studying and applying these examples, the author will take a look at the possible effects it has on the people that consume this content. They will be interviewed about their opinions on a certain issue( This will be the control) and then they will read or watch the selected content, afterwards the same questions will be asked and it will be recorded whether or not their opinions have changed. The respondents will range from age 18 until age 40. Two 18 year olds, two 28 year olds, and lastly two 38 year olds.
Marwick, A., & Lewis, R. (2017, July). Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online. Retrieved from https://centerformediajustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/DataAndSociety_MediaManipulationAndDisinformationOnline.pdf
Kaplan. (2018). Introduction to Mass Communication Study Guide.
Kaplan. (2018). Journalism & Ethics Study Guide.
Manzaria, J., & Bruck, J. (n.d.). Media's Use of Propaganda to Persuade People's Attitude, Beliefs and Behaviors. Retrieved from https://web.stanford.edu/class/e297c/war_peace/media/hpropaganda.html
Frampton, B. (2015, September 14). Clickbait: The changing face of online journalism. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-34213693
Ohlheiser, A. (2016, November 18). This is how Facebook’s fake-news writers make money. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/11/18/this-is-how-the-internets-fake-news-writers-make-money/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.7c90c55c4309
Chomsky, N. (1988). Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. Retrieved from https://focalizalaatencion.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/herman-chomsky-2002-manufacturingconsent.pdf