January 11, 2017

The Post-Truth Issue

 “Post-truth—adjective; relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” So says Oxford Dictionaries, announcing their 2016 word of the year. If we really have entered a post-truth era, as so many have written, what does that mean for the scholar and the student? For the citizen and the state? In our special issue, we wrestle with these and other urgent questions.

We are churning out entitled students with paltry knowledge and inflated egos, easy prey for propagandists.

What becomes of the public when truth becomes just another consumer preference?

Can democracy work if the people don’t care about the truth?

Waging war against fake news has its perils.

Conspiracy theories have gone from the margins to the heart of public life.

Why the fake-news problem means the social-network giant can no longer run away from politics.

The truth suffers when search algorithms become our educators.