Connect with timely, peer-reviewed research about misinformation. Subscribe to the HKS Misinformation Review newsletter to receive our issues bi-monthly and other news from the community. The HKS Misinformation Review is an open access publication.

Commentary

Propaganda

Unseeing propaganda: How communication scholars learned to love commercial media

Victor Pickard

A new disinformation age is upon us—or so it seems. But much of what appears to be unprecedented isn’t new at all. Concerns about misinformation’s effects on democracy are as old as media. The many systemic failures abetting Trump’s ascendance—as well as more recent election- and pandemic-related conspiracies—were decades in the making.

Keep Reading

Propaganda

“A most mischievous word”: Neil Postman’s approach to propaganda education

Renee Hobbs

Before there was a term called media literacy education, there was an interdisciplinary group of writers and thinkers who taught people to guard themselves against the manipulative power of language. One of the leaders of this group was Neil Postman, known for his best-selling book published in 1985, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.

Keep Reading
Commentary

Propaganda

Propaganda, misinformation, and histories of media techniques

C. W. Anderson

This essay argues that the recent scholarship on misinformation and fake news suffers from a lack of historical contextualization. The fact that misinformation scholarship has, by and large, failed to engage with the history of propaganda and with how propaganda has been studied by media and communication researchers is an empirical detriment to it, and serves to make the solutions and remedies to misinformation harder to articulate because the actual problem they are trying to solve is unclear.

Keep Reading

Propaganda

Propaganda, obviously: How propaganda analysis fixates on the hidden and misses the conspicuous

Tim Wood

Propaganda analysis has long focused on revealing the rhetorical tricks and hidden special interests behind persuasion campaigns. But what are critics to do when propaganda is obvious? In the late 1930s the Institute for Propaganda Analysis faced this question while investigating the public politicking of A&P, then the largest retailer in the United States.

Keep Reading

Propaganda

Data dependencies and funding prospects: A 1930s cautionary tale

Jefferson Pooley

Misinformation studies relies, to some extent, on access to data from large technology firms, which also seed grants, sponsor events, and support think tanks working in the field. These companies, facing scrutiny from regulators and critics, have a stake in their portrayal.

Keep Reading

Propaganda

Overlooking the political economy in the research on propaganda

Aman Abhishek

Historically, scholars studying propaganda have focused on its psychological and behavioral impacts on audiences. This tradition has roots in the unique historical trajectory of the United States through the 20th century. This article argues that this tradition is quite inadequate to tackle propaganda-related issues in the Global South, where a deep understanding of the political economy of propaganda and misinformation is urgently needed.

Keep Reading

Follow Us on Twitter