2018 STICE Lecture: “How Fake News, Political Spin and Corporate PR Can Make Us Care about Climate Change”

Melissa Aronczyk, PhD || Rutgers University School of Communication and Information

The scientific facts around climate change and widespread expert consensus about its causes are not reflected in political outcomes or public opinion in the United States. Media coverage appears to reinforce political polarization and apathy rather than giving viewers reasons to care and ways to translate that care into action. Perhaps more troubling still, the sheer volume of “sponsored” communication by powerful interests seems to have overflowed onto public platforms and muddied the waters.

In this talk, Dr. Aronczyk  examines some of our deeply held assumptions about the role of strategic communication in the making of public knowledge. If one legacy of the “fake news” panic has been the seeding of distrust and cynicism towards media more generally, she proposes that this cynicism can be redirected by learning to recognize the common concerns underlying the political spin and promotional rhetoric.

October 24 || Communications 126

Presentation 3:00 -4:30 || Reception to Follow || Reserve your seat HERE

Melissa Aronczyk is associate professor in the Department of Journalism & Media Studies at Rutgers University. Her writing on promotional culture and politics has appeared in New Media & Society, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Enterprise & Society, and several other national and international journals. She is the author of Branding the Nation: The Global Business of National Identity (Oxford, 2013) and the co-editor of Blowing up the Brand: Critical Perspectives on Promotional Culture (2010). She is currently working on a book on the entwined histories of public relations and environmentalism.

The Stice Lectureship was established with a bequest from Dr. Glen Stice in honor of his parents to bring outstanding scholars to campus to discuss issues dealing with the Bill of Rights, philosophy of law, philosophy of politics, privacy in an urban society, the concept of community, and the purpose of government.