Piskor Lecture - Dr. John Collins
The Frank P. Piskor Faculty Lecture
Dr. John Collins, Professor of Global Studies
"The Deepest Fake News: Establishment Media and the Erasure of the Colonial Present"
While the issue of “fake news” has generated significant critical attention since the 2016 US elections, there is an ongoing need to examine the broader, longstanding problems associated with our existing news media system. These include the power of “establishment media” outlets such as the New York Times, National Public Radio, and CNN in setting the public agenda, privileging certain voices and perspectives over others, reinforcing corporate and state power, and legitimating the existing social order in general. There is an equally urgent need to recognize that projects of settler colonization, rather than being located only in the past, are a defining aspect of present-day realities – in effect, the deepest of deep structures – in places such as the US, Canada, Australia, and Palestine. In this lecture, I will present the results of my research into the relative absence of the issue of settler colonialism in establishment media coverage. I argue that establishment media play a significant role in rendering these realities invisible or poorly understood, thereby blunting the power of the critiques offered by indigenous victims of settler projects and making it difficult for members of settler communities to come to terms with their privilege and ethical responsibilities.