Responding to “Fake News” in an Era of Hashtag Leftism

In a post-fact landscape, Trump’s highly effective swipes at “fake news” have repurposed a venerable leftist critical tradition into a political bludgeon to which progressives have no real answer, other than to defend a handful of corporate entities as torchbearers of democracy and consensual factual reality. What is needed is an approach that speaks to the real problem, which is that the relentless expansion of capitalized digital media (including but not limited to ‘the news’) is deeply anti-social, and thus anti-democratic. This is a position that spans our political and class spectrum in unexpected ways, as I examine in this article. Ironically, a renewed leftist skepticism of ‘the media’ is thus both necessary to our moment, and potentially an interesting point of political convergence.