Theme Panel: Democracy, Distrust, and Digital Publics

Democracy, Distrust, and Digital Publics

How might this new era of “post-truth politics,” alternative facts, and fake news threaten the legitimacy of democratic processes? The hacking of public opinion, Tenove argues, demands the creation of normative grounds for determining when digital interventions are illegitimate. Drawing on the Western philosophical tradition, Krupicka examines the implications of voters’ use of the frames of honesty and authenticity in evaluating Clinton and Trump. Rather than putting the traditional media in place as gatekeepers, Forestal invokes Dewey to argue for the creation of digital platforms that promote collective social inquiry and democratic politics. Observing that public facts have always been fabrication, Neame turns to a reading of Arendt’s “Truth and Politics” to reconcile authoritative public knowledge with democratic freedom.

Paisley Currah, CUNY, Brooklyn College; CUNY, Graduate Center (Chair)

Hacking Public Opinion: Digital Threats to Democratic Processes
Chris Tenove, University of Toronto (Author)

Honesty and Authenticity: Truthfulness and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
Benjamin T. Krupicka, Wesleyan University (Author)

With a Thousand Lies & a Good Disguise: On Propaganda & Digital Publics
Jennifer Forestal, Stockton University (Author)

The Worldliness of Truth in Politics
Alexandra Catherine Neame, Northwestern University (Author)