Political science needs to get real about fake news

March 31, 2022 Mark Fabian/Kevin Munger Season 3 Episode 5
Political science needs to get real about fake news
Show Notes

The biggest change in electoral politics in the last decade is without a doubt the advent of social media. The Cambridge Analytica scandal in Brexit, Russian bots in the EU, the zone that Steve Bannon suggests political parties flood with shit, it’s all happening on our favourite doom-scrolling apps. How is political science getting to grips with this new and influential phenomenon? Dr Kevin Munger from Pennsylvania State University joins regular ePODstemology host Dr Mark Fabian to discuss. The conversation covers Munger’s seminal model of fake news, the differences between online and offline politics, the technological and psychological mechanisms by which social media influences political behaviour, and the importance of low digital literacy, especially among the elderly, for understanding why toxic forces on social media are so effective. In the 2nd half of the episode we get the inside line on Munger’s forthcoming book, Generation Gap, which analyses the impact of the boomer generation’s outsize demographic heft on politics, policy, culture, economics, and even niche industries like academia. 

Kevin’s website with all his many outputs: http://www.kevinmunger.com/ 

Follow Kevin on twitter: @kmmunger 

Kevin’s substack/blog: https://kevinmunger.substack.com/ 

Kevin’s forthcoming book on boomer ballast: https://www.amazon.com/Generation-Gap-Dominate-American-Politics/dp/B08ZK7YV47 

Kevin is also founding editor of the Journal of Quantitative Description: Digital – Check it out if you’re an academic active in this field. https://journalqd.org/ 

BJPS article on social media in the 2015 UK election: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science/article/political-knowledge-and-misinformation-in-the-era-of-social-media-evidence-from-the-2015-uk-election/EF26FA6C515D9C697DD72B95F452B2C5 

Blog post on social media toxicity as reflective of the misery of American society:


Political Communication article on the political economy of fake news: https://kmunger.github.io/pdfs/pc_clickbait.pdf