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Summary of After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News

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It is a fitting irony that the term “fake news” has become itself fraudulent, appropriated, by Donald Trump and his imitators, to dismiss legitimate reporting that they deem damaging, disrespectful or insufficiently flattering. But before there was this fake news, there was real fake news, an ecosystem of rumors, conspiracy theories, frauds and hoax stories, some of which were deployed in 2016 to boost President Trump’s campaign. It’s this modern weapon that is the subject of HBO’s “After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News,” a broad but darkly engrossing documentary that airs Thursday.

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After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News, investigates the ongoing threat caused by the phenomenon of “fake news” in the U.S., focusing on the real-life consequences that disinformation, conspiracy theories and false news stories have on the average citizen, both in an election cycle and for years to come. Directed by Andrew Rossi (Page One: Inside the New York Times, Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven) and executive produced by CNN’s Brian Stelter, After Truth features exclusive access to the victims and perpetrators of false news stories as well as a variety of experts and journalists who contextualize its impact and reinforce the importance of quality journalism. Drawing on a wealth of interview subjects to illuminate the issue from several angles while emphasizing the human toll in case studies, the documentary examines several incidents that have been impacted by “fake news." After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News is an HBO Documentary Films presentation of an Abstract Production; directed and produced by Andrew Rossi; executive producer Brian Stelter; co-producer, Adam McGill; editor, Cindy Lee; music Ian Hultquist; a film by Andrew Rossi.

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Obviously, yet “After Truth” is also the latest documentary to make Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg into the poster boy for what’s wrong with the fake-news era. The complaint, voiced here by the technology business journalist Kara Swisher, comes down to one that liberal culture has elevated into a kind of dogma: that Zuckerberg should be regulating this stuff. Not allowing it on Facebook

And that the fact that he won’t agree to do so is a transparent expression of his “greed.”

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