Kent State University - "The Evolution of the Fact-Free Universe"
The Evolution of the Fact-Free University
November 16, 2016, 7:00 pm
Kent State Student Center 310AB
Dessert Reception to Follow
It’s been creeping up on us for some time. In 1995, it was shocking when an O.J. Simpson juror declared DNA to be “just a bunch of numbers.” By 2016, and our most recent presidential election, facts had become increasingly irrelevant in our culture, replaced by “narrative” and “optics” as the subjects of political reporting. The causes and landmarks of this development are the subject of my talk. Among the topics discussed: The blurred lines between information and entertainment, celebrity and expertise; the 24-hour broadcast news stations’ elevation of anything “just breaking” to the status of “news,” creating a faux reality composed of what Daniel Boorstin called “pseudo-events”; digital technologies of image-making that have normalized the “perfected” over the real; popularity of narrative fictions (journalistic, novelistic and televisual) that privilege the sensational and scandalous over the verified/historically recorded; a political arena in which lies have become expected, and journalists see “equivalencies” in covering candidates as more important than investigation and truth-seeking.