TODAY: ‘Truth in the Internet Age’ to explore intersection of fact, fallacy, and democracy

“Truth in the Internet Age” is the focus of a Yale symposium to be held on campus on Wednesday, Nov. 9, the day after the 2016 presidential election. The event will explore how the blurring of facts and opinion and the rise of hate and conspiracy theories in the cybersphere have affected the American political process.
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“Truth in the Internet Age” is the focus of a Yale symposium to be held on campus on Wednesday, Nov. 9, the day after the 2016 presidential election.

The symposium brings together influential professionals from the news media, social media, and academia to explore how the blurring of facts and opinion and the rise of hate and conspiracy theories in the cybersphere have affected the American political process.

“Our goal is to illuminate how the ongoing revolutions in journalism and social media are threatening the integrity of the democratic process,” according to the event organizers. “The key question is what can be done to reverse a trend — fueled by new technologies  — in which the American electorate has become more inflamed but less well-informed about issues, events, and policy.” The symposium is sponsored by the Poynter Fellowship in Journalism at Yale.

The event includes conversations with: Glenn Thrush of Politico, Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal, Eliana Johnson of the National Review, Kurt Eichenwald of Newsweek, Graeme Wood of The Atlantic, Tanzina Vega of CNN, and Scott Carpenter of Jigsaw (formerly Google Ideas).

Former Fox news anchor Greta Van Susteren will moderate the symposium, which will also include a discussion will featuring student leaders from all sides of the political spectrum about their role as consumers of media and engaged citizens; a look at free speech and its key role in democracy by Yale Law School Dean Robert Post; and student-created videos with highlights from the presidential campaign and other news interspersed with insights by Yale philosophers, law professors, psychologists, and scientists.

“Truth in the Internet Age” will take place 6-8:30 p.m. in the Law School auditorium, 127 Wall St. The event is free and open to the public.

Watch a livestream of the symposium.

Biographies of participants

Greta Conway Van Susteren is an American commentator and television news anchor formerly on the Fox News Channel, where she hosted “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.” A former criminal defense and civil trial lawyer, she appeared as a legal analyst on CNN, co-hosting “Burden of Proof” with Roger Cossack from 1994 to 2002, playing defense attorney to Cossack’s prosecutor. In 2016, she was listed as the 94th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes, up from 99th in 2015.

Eliana Johnson is an American conservative writer who has worked for National Review magazine. In August 2014, she was promoted from media editor to the post of Washington editor for National Review. She had previously worked as a producer at Fox News on Sean Hannity’s television program Hannity and as a staff reporter at The New York Sun. Johnson, a native of Twin Cities area of Minnesota, graduated from Yale University in 2006 with a degree in history.

Scott Carpenter is the managing director at Jigsaw (formerly Google Ideas). In this position, he drives implementation of the team’s overall strategy, to make online repressive censorship irrelevant. Prior to joining Google, he founded and directed Project Fikra during his time as the Keston Family Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where he remains an adjunct fellow. Previously, Carpenter served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of Near East Affairs, where he helped conceive and implement the Middle East Partnership Initiative before being named coordinator for the Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative.

Glenn Thrush is Politico’s chief political correspondent and a senior staff writer for Politico Magazine. He previously served as the site’s main White House correspondent, winning the two top awards issued by the White House Correspondents Association and a Gerald R. Ford Award for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency. He is the author of two New York Times bestselling e-books on the 2012 campaign and has worked for numerous publications as a reporter and editor, including Newsday, The New York Observer, Bloomberg News, the Daily News, City Limits and the Birmingham (Ala.) Post-Herald. His freelance writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, New York, Spin, the Washington Post, Village Voice, American Demographics, and Guitar World, where his work appeared under the pseudonym “Glenn Thrash.”

Kurt Eichenwald is an American journalist who serves as a senior writer with Newsweek and contributing editor with Vanity Fair. He is a New York Times bestselling author of four books, one of which, “The Informant” (2000), was made into a motion picture in 2009. He was formerly a writer and investigative reporter with The New York Times and later with Condé Nast’s business magazine, Portfolio. Eichenwald had been employed by The New York Times since 1986 and primarily covered Wall Street and corporate topics such as insider trading, accounting scandals, and takeovers, but also wrote about a range of issues including terrorism, the Bill Clinton pardons controversy, federal health care policy, and sexual predators on the Internet.

Bret Stephens writes “Global View,” the Wall Street Journal’s foreign-affairs column, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2013. He is the paper’s deputy editorial page editor, responsible for the international opinion pages of the Journal, and a member of the paper’s editorial board. He is also a regular panelist on the Journal Editorial Report, a weekly political talk show broadcast on Fox News Channel.

Graeme Wood is a correspondent for The Atlantic. He was the 2015-2016 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and is a lecturer in political science at Yale University. He was formerly a contributing editor to The New Republic and books editor of Pacific Standard.

Tanzina Vega is a national reporter at CNNMoney where she covers race and inequality in America. Prior to working at CNN, Vega was a staff reporter for The New York Times where she created and covered a beat on race and ethnicity for the national desk, reported on digital media and advertising for the business desk, and covered the New York City courts for the metro section. NPR’s “Code Switch” included Vega in their “Journalists — Of Color! — To Watch In 2014” list, and The Huffington Post named her as one on of the 40 top Latinos in American media. Vega is also a multimedia producer and has won various awards for her multimedia work, including being part of the Emmy-winning team that produced “One in 8 Million,” and has received awards from the National Press Photographers Association.

Robert Post is dean and the Sol & Lillian Goldman Professor of Law at Yale Law School. His subject areas are constitutional law, First Amendment, legal history, and equal protection. He has written and edited numerous books, including “Citizens Divided: A Constitutional Theory of Campaign Finance Reform” and “Democracy, Expertise, Academic Freedom: A First Amendment Jurisprudence for the Modern State.”

Poynter Fellowship in Journalism at Yale

The Poynter Fellowship was established in 1971 by Nelson Poynter  ’27 M.A. The program brings to campus distinguished reporters, editors and others who have made important contributions to the media, with the goal of helping Yale students and faculty gain special insight into the media and its role in contempora

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