In this essay, Angelique Haugerud provides an insightful analysis of what we now, sometimes uncritically, refer to as “fake news.” She then goes on to argue that our current obsession with “fake news” obscures something more fundamental—the financialization of the news industry in which profit eclipses the media’s role in contributing to the public good. In Haugerud’s view, this debilitates the mainstream media’s capacity to combat fake news and opens a space for the latter to enter the mainstream.
Angelique Haugerud is professor of anthropology at Rutgers University and former editor-in-chief of the scholarly journals American Ethnologist (2011–2015) and Africa Today (1996–1999). She has received research fellowships and grants from the National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, American Council of Learned Societies, American Philosophical Society, and Rockefeller Foundation. Haugerud is the author of No Billionaire Left Behind: Satirical Activism in America (Stanford University Press, 2013); coeditor (with Marc Edelman) of The Anthropology of Development and Globalization: From Classical Political Economy to Contemporary Neoliberalism (Wiley Blackwell, 2005), coeditor (with M. Priscilla Stone and Peter D. Little) of Commodities and Globalization: Anthropological Perspectives (Rowman and Littlefield, 2000), author of The Culture of Politics in Modern Kenya (Cambridge University Press, 1995), and co-producer (with Joe Locarro) of a short documentary film No Billionaire Left Behind (2013, available for free on Vimeo). She has contributed articles on political satire and wealth inequality to the Huffington Post and Stanford University Press blog, and she has been interviewed about both Kenyan and US politics on National Public Radio. She has been elected to the executive boards of the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology, African Studies Association, American Anthropological Association’s General Anthropology Division, and Society for Economic Anthropology.