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Lexicon of Lies: Terms for Problematic Information

Published Aug 09, 2017
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Illustration: Jim Cooke

Whether "post-fact" or propaganda, the public sphere is inundated with problematic information. Lexicon of Lies is an essential guide by Data & Society Postdoctoral Scholar Caroline Jack that covers terms and concepts for information that is inaccurate, misleading, inappropriately attributed, or altogether fabricated.

Propaganda, disinformation, misinformation: The words we choose to describe media manipulation can lead to assumptions about how information spreads, who spreads it, and who receives it. These assumptions can shape what kinds of interventions or solutions seem desirable, appropriate, or even possible.

This guide is intended to inform commentators, educators, policymakers, and others who seek appropriate words for describing the accuracy and relevance of media content.  Media historian and theorist Caroline Jack traces the specific origins and applications of several forms of problematic information, unpacking lazy usage habits and uncovering buried cultural origins.

Lexicon of Lies attempts to provide nuance to current debates around truth and trust in the public sphere. The lexicon is the second in a series of outputs from the Data & Society initiative on Media Manipulation.

For Educators

This lexicon is accompanied by Teaching Resources from Data & Society’s Caroline Jack and Monica Bulger.

More work from the Media Manipulation initiative

Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online
Full Report

Lexicon of Lies:
Terms for Problematic Information

Lexicon of Lies:
Teaching Resources