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Friday, December 22, 2017

#AALS2018 Panel Alert: Fake News, Alternative Facts, and the Future of Journalism

If you're in San Diego for AALS, I hope you'll come to the fake news panel organized by the Defamation & Privacy and Mass Communication Law sections. The program will take place on Jan. 3, 2018, at 1:30 pm. Here's our description of the panel: 

A discourse with no anchor in truth ceases to have value as discourse. The President’s accusations that the media are perpetuating “fake news” have raised numerous legal and ethical questions for lawyers, journalists, government officials, and citizens. This panel, comprised of experts in journalism and media law, will consider the phenomenon and politics of fake news; the law’s role, if any, in regulating truth in public discourse; the media’s role in ensuring public discourse is anchored in truth and their contribution to the fake news phenomenon; the role of independent fact-checking websites such as Snopes.com and Politifact.com in helping debunk fake news; and the potential impact of the fake news debate on First Amendment press freedoms.


LaVonda Reed (of Syracuse University College of Law) and I (now of the U. of Missouri Law School!) will be moderating. Speakers include Amy Gajda of Tulane Law School, Lili Levi of Miami Law School, Scott Lewis from the Voice of San Diego, Richard Marosi of the LA Times, David Mikkelson of Snopes.com, Rebecca Nee of San Diego State University, and Jestin Coler of DisInfoMedia. 

Posted by Lyrissa Lidsky on December 22, 2017 at 02:32 PM in First Amendment, Lyrissa Lidsky, Web/Tech | Permalink


Here's a recent, slightly critical view of the current state of at least some of our major news institutions: https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/breaking-news-1.

I will note parenthetically that whatever massive resources it may still have left, and occasionally even use, when I turn to the New York Times, at least online, it feels as if some 60-80 percent of it consists of a) opinion columnists, some of them even labeled as such, and b) recaps of TV shows and of last night's monologues on various comedy programs and talk shows. The latter is especially striking, although both are a massive, albeit cheap, misuse of space and resources. I am *mildly* worried about the state of First Amendment law and its effect on the press and probably more mildly worried still about the President's intemperate comments about the press. I am quite worried, however, about the state of the press itself, and about its current (and probably not just current) role not in keeping one informed, which does not require 24-hour scrutiny of its content, but in serving as a time-filler, entertainment device, and resource for those looking for things to link to and talk about on social media.

Posted by: Paul Horwitz | Dec 22, 2017 4:15:41 PM

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