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Satire, Fabrication, and Vilification: The Diverse History of Fake News

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LT 1, Old Government Buildings (Law Faculty),

Victoria University Pipitea Campus

55 Lambton Quay

Wellington, 6011

New Zealand

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The Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs invites you to an address by Associate Professor Val Hooper and Dr Michael Daubs, with closing remarks from Stuart McMillan, examing the emergence and proliferation of fake news, and looking at how it has influenced both media and political landscapes.

“Fake news” has become an increasingly popular topic thanks to the revelation that Macedonian teenagers were crafting false news stories and paid Russian “trolls” were spreading them on social media and news sites during the U.S. Presidential Election of 2016. Since then, concerns about fake news have cropped up in other election campaigns including the recent election in France and the upcoming German elections. The proliferation of fake news, which features sensationalised, “click-bait” style headlines designed to attract readers (and therefore advertising revenue), stems from the “extreme commercialism” of the news media However, the term “fake news” has been used to describe a variety of content in recent years including satire. More recently, Trump and his supporters, and even some politicians here in New Zealand, have used the term to deflect criticism, marginalise data, and delegitimise journalists. This latest evolution of the term demonstrates how the term “fake news” mirrors the evolution of the German propaganda term Lügenpresse (“lying press”), which was originally used in descriptive manner at the start of the century but was later used by the Nazis during the Third Reich to discredit Hitler’s critics. This talk outlines this historical resonance to address what some uses of the phrase “fake news” means for both press freedom and our ability to remain informed, engaged citizens.

About our speakers:

Associate Professor Val Hooper has been lecturing for over two decades in diverse areas including Marketing Management; Research Methodology; Consumer and Buyer Behaviour; Marketing Communications; Marketing Information Systems; Brand Management; Information Systems Management; Electronic commerce; Economics (Micro and Macro); Strategic Management; and Cybersecurity. She has also practised widely as a management and specialist consultant with clients emanating from a range of industries including industrial engineering, agricultural engineering, a university consortium, the tertiary education sector, a national health research council, the tobacco industry, the hair care industry, national bakeries, the retail sector, and national fruit exporting.

Between 2010-2014 Val was Head of the School of Information Management. However, she maintained her involvement in marketing - researching marketing–related topics, serving on relevant editorial boards and acting as external examiner of marketing doctoral theses to universities internationally. She is a member of the Education Committee of Imitatio Inc, an organisation focusing on mimetic theory and funded by Peter Thiel.

Dr. Michael S. Daubs is a Lecturer in Media Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. He earned his PhD in Media Studies from The University of Western Ontario (Canada) in 2011. His research examines not just the stories we tell with media, but also the stories we tell about media and how these perceptions inform our media use. His past research has investigated topics including citizen journalism, the commercialisation of the Web, mobile app development, and Occupy Wall Street’s relationship to media. His current research, some of which will be discussed in this lecture, investigates the history of the term Lügenpresse and its relationship with the term “fake news”.

Stuart McMillan is a Senior Fellow in the Centre for Strategic Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. He worked on The Press, Christchurch, for many years, the last 20 or so as a leader writer and writer on NZ foreign policy and international affairs. After retirement from The Press he wrote a weekly column on international affairs for the National Business Review. He has written for The Australian, the Asahi Shimbun and the Economist. He is a Life Member of the NZ Institute of International Affairs and serves on its Standing Committee.


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LT 1, Old Government Buildings (Law Faculty),

Victoria University Pipitea Campus

55 Lambton Quay

Wellington, 6011

New Zealand

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