Narratives of the Fake News Debate in France

Author: Angeliki Monnier, University of Lorraine, France
Published: November 2, 2018

Citation: Monnier, A. (2018). Narratives of the Fake News Debate in France. IAFOR Journal of Arts & Humanities, 5(2).


The objective of this article is to identify the topical repertoires, the underlying schemas that structure the fake news debate. Attention is focused on the mainstream French press, from the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States on November 8, 2016, until his inauguration on January 20, 2017. The narratives elaborated in and by the French media regarding the dysfunctions of the contemporary information landscape indicate a utopian vision of the role of journalists and reproduce the linear information model. The impact of this doxa is threefold. First, it forwards a certain vision of journalism, based on fact-checking, naively considered to be the solution to the post-truth problem. Journalists are the main victims and at the same time the main perpetrators of this perception. Second, on an epistemological level, it brings back into the agenda the long-ago abandoned concept of “masses”. Finally, from a political standpoint, the rhetoric on media’s superpower is far from promoting the democratic enhancement of societies. By blaming the dysfunctions of social media for the flaws of the information environment, public actors tend to forget to take thorough interest in the reasons that lead people to fall prey to fake news.


fake news, journalism, narratives, French press, post-truth