Fake news has become popular in the last few years and appears mainly in the form of alleged news articles that spread via social media or as satire. However, fake news can appear in two additional manifestations: in politics—when falsehoods are generated by politicians; and as a practice of media art—by the activist-art branch ‘tactical media’. From the perspective of media art history, this article presents a comparative analysis of two case studies of each of these domains: the political case was a false statement about the 2017 tax bill by US president Donald Trump, and the media art case was a false statement on BBC television in 2004 regarding corporate responsibility for the Bhopal industrial disaster, acted by the art duo The Yes Men. The cases were compared for their tactics, motivations, purposes and rhetoric. The most salient difference reveals the producers’ relation to truth: while in a ‘post-truth’ manner Trump ‘bullshitted’, distorted facts and disregarded truth, the Yes Men emphasized facts and exposed truth. This article concludes that fake news in politics is dangerous and that fake news in media art has an educational potential to fight fake news and promote critical deliberation.
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This work was written with the professional support of Prof. Dr. Ana Peraica and Dr. Alison MacKenzie.
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Kedar, H.E. Fake News in Media Art: Fake News as a Media Art Practice Vs. Fake News in Politics. Postdigit Sci Educ 2, 132–146 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42438-019-00053-y