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The signal lost in the noise

Faculty Advisor




populism, political right, social media, post-truth, scholarship under attack

Abstract (summary)

Purpose The case studies were examined in the context of a lack of confidence in what constitutes truth and knowledge. Design/methodology/approach A case study design taken examining specific instances where the emergence of populist political tactics in an unfettered media world has undermined public belief in what counts as knowledge and to cast doubt on the validity of the idea of truth. Findings From the examples used, it was seen that not just scholarship, but scholars themselves, found themselves under attack when presenting views that, however rigorously reasoned and supported by research fact, were deemed unacceptable by the extreme political right. Practical implications The knowledge creation purpose of universities is under threat and “business as usual” as a response will not address that threat. Originality/value This calls into question the future of universities and their professoriates in a post-truth world and asks what the academy can do to adapt to continue serve the common good when knowledge gives way to the powerful influence of the evidence-free rhetorical sound bite in the formulation of public policy and public opinion.

Publication Information

Corlett, J. (2023), "The signal lost in the noise", On the Horizon, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 54-61.


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