Spring 2017
Wednesday 6-7
225 Dwinelle
Professor Crawford

Office Hours: Weds. 2-3

Course Requirements

statement on Plagiarism

Charts purporting to identify Fake News Sites




Fake News or Real News: What's the Difference and How to Know
Political Economy 24 P 002 SEM  W 6-7P, 225 Dwinelle

"Fake News" is not a fight over Truth but rather a fight over Power"

2016 was the "Year of the Hoax" disguised as truth. Fake news and the proliferation of opinion that passes for news is creating confusion, punching holes in what is true, and leading us to doubt everything branded as "news." An analysis by BuzzFeed found that false election stories from hoax sites and hyperpartisan blogs generated more engagement than content from real news sites during the last three months of the election. In this course we will examine the difference between "fake news", satire, opinion, slanted journalism, propaganda and factual news reporting. We will look at the rise of the fake news phenomenon, how and why it has gone viral and its actual and potential consequences

Week 1   

Week 2

  • What is Fake news?  Is objective News an illusion?


Week 3

  • Class Debate on Climate Change and Climate Change Skepticism:  A legitimate Debate or campaigns of Disinformation/Misinformation

Suggested Readings:
Sarah Simpson, “The Arctic Thaw could make Global Warming Worse,”  Scientific American, June 29, 2009

"Think Again: Climate Change" By Bill McKibben  In Foreign Policy January-February 2009

“A Changing Climate:  Consequences for Subsistence Communities”
”Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability: Polar Regions”  pp. 663-676

"Do Climate Change Deniers Have a Point?" http://www.oregonlive.com/today/index.ssf/2016/04/do_climate-change_skeptics_hav.html

Week 4 Feb. 8

  • Continue Climate Change Debate, analyze students' examples, discuss fake news and free speech

Weeks 5 and 6 Feb.15 and Feb 22

Week 7 March 1

  • The emergence and evolution of Fake News (1)
    • Before fake news, what was “real” news?
    • The crumbling infrastructure of traditional journalism and the emergence of digital media

Guest Speaker JP Mangalindan, Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Finance JP Mangalindan covers the intersection of technology and finance Previously, he worked as a reporter for Fortune Magazine and Mashable covering Silicon Valley. A graduate of Fordham University, Mangalindan's work has also appeared in GQ Magazine, Popular Science and Entertainment Weekly.

Week 8  March 8

Guest Speaker Jon Schwarz, San Francisco Bureau Chief, USA Today. Jon Schwarz has been a high-tech journalist since 1987. He has worked for MacWEEK, written for London dailies (Independent, Times and Daily Telegraph), the San Francisco Chronicle, Forbes and, of course, USA TODAY.

Week 9 March 15

recommended: A long article on Russia https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/magazine/the-agency.html?_r=0P

Week 10 March 22

Week 11  April 5


Week 12 April 12

Week 13 April 19

  • What can be done on the "supply side"?
    • On the “supply” side:  journalism ethics and standards, public broadcasting sources
    • Efforts by Google and facebook
    • How do we combat confirmation bias

Week 14: Conclusion and Party April 26

May 3: Your own Fake News Story is Due

Further reading:
On the history and evolution of fake news
On teaching about how to evaluate information

Carl Sagen, "The fine art of Baloney Detection" http://www.inf.fu-berlin.de/lehre/pmo/eng/Sagan-Baloney.pdf

Eli Pariser, The Filter Bubble
Shaheed Mohammed, The Disinformation Age
Howard Rheingold, Net Smart: How to Thrive Online
David Helfand, Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age