"Media, political correctness and manipulation"

25 April 2017
15:00 p.m.-18:00 p.m.

The European Ideas Network will debate the Media, Political Correctness and Manipulation in light of the recent social and political circumstances. The gap between how the world is, and how it is perceived, mostly due to how the interests want to portray reality, has grown intensely wider. Consequently, «misinformation», «disinformation», «alternative facts», «fake news», «quote mining» and «spin» are used as communication strategies, hiding different purposes, often contrary to the right of inform and be informed. The right of information has an unquestionable value. One cannot imagine to live and work today without the internet or mobile phones, both accesses to information and communication. However, do we ask ourselves to what extent our life is influenced by all kinds of information? To ensure the full participation of the citizens in the decision-making processes, so that to develop a «need oriented, self-reliant, endogenous sound» global society, the media play a fundamental role providing non-biased, clear and truthful information. Additionally, the democratization of communications, as a social phenomenon, increased the volume of information one has «at the distance of a click», most of it unchecked, and undisputable, enhancing the complexity of this «public service». Therefore, if on the one hand, the governmental and commercial power structures should no longer be in a position to monopolize public opinion to its own ends, on the other hand, how can «free» information be confirmed? Last November, the Americans elected a man with no past experience in public service to the presidency. Nonetheless, this lack of preparation was seen not as liability but as a strength, the man was not a politician, and was campaigning against political correctness and what was called media manipulation. This phenomenon, first criticised by the left, as an evocation of the spectres of authoritarian regimes, is now condemn by the right, accusing the millennials of being «spoiled narcissists, who want to prevent anyone expressing opinions that they happen to find offensive». These recent events in the USA, as well as in the United Kingdom, France or the Netherlands, have shown how media can manipulate or be manipulative. While the current status quo can be attributed, in part, to domestic circumstances it must also be seen in the geopolitical context as foreign actors also seek to exploit it. In our seminar «Media, Political Correctness and Manipulation», we shall discuss the new approaches of Media and Politics, in the so-called era of «post-truth», what lies behind «fake news» and other forms of media manipulation, and analyse their impact on public opinion and their effects on policy making.