Media prank: For nobody to trust anyone
Abstract. Modern media demonstrate a distinctive feature when professional and official news agencies neighbor with amateur analytical Internet platforms. News outlets, social networks and video hosting services influence each other and create a mixed worldview. They also compete for their customer, for the likes that they would get and for the dislikes for their opponents. The subject of this paper is pranks and hoaxes in media, the description of practical jokes in the Russian political discourse from the journalistic, sociological, psychological, legal, linguistic viewpoints and locate them in the modern communication. In the course of the research the author comes to the conclusion that pranks and hoaxes in media should not be referred to as either a brand new journalism or a new type of interviewing. They are a means of provocation and social atomization. Practical jokes in media are political cloutlighting and belong to culture jamming activities. Pranksters do not provide information to society. Designed pranks and hoaxes might function as trial balloons for the third parties and as a way of influencing the audience in order to bias people against the prank victim. Humor in media pranks sidetracks people from debating about urgent issues and making the right decisions on them. As a result, practical jokes first undermine the credibility of one news outlet, and then destroy the whole system of communicating news. The habit of playing pranks on people in media inevitably leads to lowering the moral norms among those who execute pranks and those who consume them.