Group Project: Misinformation/Disinformation Campaign

In this class, we study Wayne Booth's breakdown of different types of rhetoric. Booth's definition of "rhetrickery" is what we often think of when we hear politicians or other public figures use the word "rhetoric." Booth defines rhetrickery as the "whole range of shoddy dishonest communicative arts producing misunderstanding - along with other harmful results. The arts of making the worse seem the better course."

We've read about various kinds of digital rhetrickery, including things like Deepfakes and Troll Farms, but we've also read about ways that artists, activists, and others might use similar tactics toward more ethical or just ends. Groups and initiatives such as the Yes Men and Birds Aren't Real use the tools of digital disinformation and propaganda to expose wrongdoing and to raise awareness about conspiracy theories or the manipulation of information.

Our final project in this class will be to build our own similar disinformation campaign, using to tools of rhetrickery in similar ways. As a class, we will develop a campaign, and using what we've learned this semester we will build an online presence for that campaign. This could include creating websites, social media accounts, digital graphics, videos, audio, and more. It will also mean a great deal of writing. The class will plan the campaign together, and students will take on different roles to work together in building this project.

On our last day of class, all members of the class will deliver a presentation about the campaign, its goals, and the processes you used to create materials. Individual students should look for opportunities to document their own contributions to the project so that they can use that documentation in their LR.

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