Coming to HBO tomorrow night, Thursday, March 19:
AFTER TRUTH: DISINFORMATION AND THE COST OF FAKE NEWS
SXSW 2020 (festival cancelled)
An investigation into the development, dissemination, and impact of conspiracy theories and fake news.
Today’s social media-focused world of TL;DR insta-news has enabled the rapid weaponizing of rumor, conspiracy, and outright lies in the form of disinformation campaigns disguised as fact. The current US presidential administration has done possibly irreparable harm to the trust and respect traditionally afforded to the legitimate press, taking a play out of dictatorial playbooks by labeling any media entity that dares to be critical as “fake news.” This egregious co-opting of the term and its application not to actual purveyors of falsehoods but instead to actual journalism further complicates the general public’s ability to address the phenomenon clearly. Filmmaker Andrew Rossi cogently takes on this complex landscape, delving into a handful of stories – chiefly Pizzagate, the Seth Rich “assassination,” and the Jade Helm/Bastrop TX conspiracy, among others – and tracing how these events unfolded, exploring who perpetrates the falsehoods both knowingly and unknowingly, and revealing how the victims continue to suffer the consequences. Most revealing, the film follows notorious pro-Trump disinformation peddlers Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl behind the scenes as they bungle a press conference baselessly accusing special counsel Robert Mueller of sexual misconduct, clearly demonstrating their reprehensible tactics.