Beyond Post-Communication: Challenging Disinformation, Deception, and Manipulation

Peter Lang
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2020, 1st, pp. 1-301
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While many analyses have focussed on disinformation in recent election campaigns, misuse of ‘big data’ such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and manipulation by bots and algorithms, and blamed a few bad actors, this incisive analysis presents evidence of deeper and broader corruption of the public sphere, which the author refers to as post-communication. With extensive evidence, Macnamara argues that we are all responsible for the slide towards a post-truth society. This analysis looks beyond high profile individuals such as Donald Trump, Russian trolls, and even ‘Big Tech’ to argue that the professionalized communication industries of advertising, PR, political and government communication, and even journalism, driven by clickbait and aided by a lack of critical media literacy, have systematically contributed to disinformation, deception, and manipulation. When combined with powerful new communication technologies, artificial intelligence, and lack of regulation, this has led to a “perfect data storm”. Accordingly, Macnamara proposes that there is no single solution. Rather, he identifies a range of strategies for communication professionals, industry associations, media organizations and platforms, educators, legislators, regulators, and citizens to challenge post-communication and post-truth.
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