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Learning Laboratory: Prof Jayson Harsin on Fake News about Coronavirus: Causes and Effects

In the eighth episode of the Learning Laboratory video series, Professor Jayson Harsin looks at the reasons why fake news circulates so widely during crises, like the Covid-19 pandemic, and how this creates confusion and anxiety about what is true and what is false. In the video, Harsin argues “that claims of distrust in scientific experts, media (il)literacy and gullibility, and technology are all wrong, though some are necessary factors in the development and spread of fake news about coronavirus.” He also explains the historically specific political and economic exploitations of misleading information that are cross-culturally embedded and have created broad distrust in news media, politicians and information on social media.

About Professor Jayson Harsin

Professor Jayson Harsin received his PhD from Northwestern University in 2006 and is Chair of the Department of Global Communication at The American University of Paris. He is also Chair of the Philosophy, Theory, Critique division of the International Communication Association. Harsin empirically studies and critically theorizes the intersection of new and old communication technologies, popular culture, and politics. For 15 years, his research has focused on disinformation blends such as fake news and its broader social and political backdrop, post-truth politics. Harsin’s research has also placed a specific emphasis on the issue of attention and distraction (as much as false belief) as crucial to these developments.