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Alternative Facts and Fake News: Digital mediation and The Affective Spread of Hate in the Era of Trump

Author:

Kayla Keener

George Mason University, US
About Kayla
Kayla Keener is a PhD candidate in the cultural Studies Department at George Mason University. She is interested in the formation and performance of identities within a neolibraral political economy. She focuses on contemporaneous modes of digitally mediated labor, including sites of informal, (non)waged, and affective labor.
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Abstract

The role of negative affects such as fear and hate, their manifestation
in atmospheres, manipulability, and mobilization as a response to threat
perception play a pivotal role in the current political conjuncture. This essay
traces the dissemination of fake news and the role of affective labor in its
digital spread through the example of the recent Pizzagate phenomenon.
This particular viral story and its real world fallout speak to the turn to a
‘post-truth’ politics, which has been embraced by President Trump and his
surrogates, through the appropriation of the term ‘fake news’ and rhetoric of
‘alternative facts’, to describe all forms of dissent and justification for executive actions, respectively. By examining the circulation and coalescence of negative affects such as fear and hate, and their utility in a moment of political uncertainty defined by divisive populist rhetoric, it becomes clear that a reorientation to affective engagements with digital media and facticity is
necessary and pressingly urgent.


Keywords: affect, fake news, populism, digital media, post-truth
politics

How to Cite: Keener, K., 2019. Alternative Facts and Fake News: Digital mediation and The Affective Spread of Hate in the Era of Trump. Journal of Hate Studies, 14(1), p.137. DOI: http://doi.org/10.33972/jhs.128
Published on 27 Feb 2019.

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