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The Dark Side of Media and Technology

A 21st Century Guide to Media and Technological Literacy

Edited By Edward Downs

The Dark Side of Media and Technology: A 21st Century Guide to Media and Technological Literacy is Herculean in its effort to survey for landmines in a rapidly changing media landscape. The book identifies four dark outcomes related to media and technology use in the 21st century, and balances the dark side with four points of light that are the keys to taking ownership of a media- and technology-saturated world. The text contains an impressive list of multi-disciplinary experts and cutting-edge researchers who approach 25 separate dark side issues with concise, highly readable chapters, replete with unique recommendations for navigating our mediated present and future.

The Dark Side of Media and Technology is grounded in theory and current research, but possesses an appeal similar to a page-turning dystopian novel; as a result, this volume should be of interest to scholars, students, and curious lay-readers alike. It should be the "go-to" text for anyone who is interested in learning what the research says about how we use media and technology, as well as how media and technology use us.

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Chapter Four: Agenda-Setting in the Age of Emergent Online Media and Social Networks: Exploring the Dangers of a News Agenda Influenced by Subversive and Fake Information (Anthony M. Limperos / Will R. Silberman)

Extract

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CHAPTER FOUR

Agenda-Setting in the Age of Emergent Online Media and Social Networks

Exploring the Dangers of a News Agenda Influenced by Subversive and Fake Information

ANTHONY M. LIMPEROS & WILL R. SILBERMAN



The news media in the United States has a long-standing tradition of being the truth-teller of society, or more simply, a “watchdog” of political, governmental, and other public affairs. This is why it is known as the “fourth estate” (see Kovach & Rosenstiel, 2001). These estates essentially describe the gatekeepers of public discourse, in which information is created amongst the thought leaders of the first estate, the national figureheads of the second estate, and disseminated to the public—the third estate—where information is consumed and discussed. The media, or fourth estate, challenges the direction of information dissemination and acts as a verification mechanism for the information that is passed to the public. The rise of social media, blogs, and other forms of discussion have blurred the lines between the third and fourth estate and some have even referred to these new emergent online media as the fifth estate or power (Dutton, 2009). As a result of greater participation in the information process, the public seems to have become distrustful of the fourth estate ← 37 | 38 → because it seems as if they have become less vigilant with their verification mechanisms for important information.

Historically speaking, mainstream news organizations (e.g., ABC, CBS, NBC,...

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