Fake News and Alternative Facts

The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour (Original Air Date: August 25, 2019) — This week on the program, we air a forum looking at the vilification of / and distrust in/ the media—the network of journalists, reporters, editors, producers and newscasters that gather and dispense the news. Referred to by many names: the press, the media, the fourth estate or the great bulwark of freedom; these organizations and individuals play an essential role in democracy and society and enjoy a long history in America, enshrined in the Constitution through the First Amendment in 1791.

Since its inception in the United States, the press has had no official designation or test of certification and is merely a profession guided by a set of ethical standards built on the public’s trust. But based on a Gallup poll, trust in the media reached an all-time low in 2016 and has continued to receive unprecedented levels of mistrust from the American populace. Central to this drop in trust is the corresponding rise in accusations of fake news, alternative facts and media bias. But where did these accusations begin? How does one spot a real fake news story? And why is trust in the media important?

Addressing these questions and other concerns surrounding the press is Jennifer Napier-Pearce, editor of the Salt Lake Tribune.

This forum was recorded on April 10, 2019.