Post-Truth, Alternate Facts, & Fake News:
Our Culture in Crisis
On November 8th of last year, Election Day in the United States, Oxford Dictionaries announced its word of the year: post-truth. The selection represents a response to both the American presidential election campaign and Great Britain's Brexit vote.
Over the past year, the phrase fake news has also been frequently invoked, especially in regard to online communications and social media.
On January 22nd of this year, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway used the phrase alternate facts during a Meet the Press interview.
Modern science and journalism both are based on the ideal of objectivity, that we can gather data about our environment, examine the evidence available to us, and evaluate facts and claims regarding reality. General semantics is based on the understanding that scientific method can be applied to human communication, thought, and action, to the benefit of individuals, and humanity as a whole.
There is nothing new, however, about the idea that we have lost all sense of cultural coherence, that we are subject to all manner of Orwellian doublespeak, or that public discourse has been trivialized by an emphasis on sensation and amusement.
But, have we turned a corner over the past year, as the emergence of terminology like post-truth, alternate facts, and fake news might seem to suggest? Have we reached a crisis point in our culture regarding the role of rationality and reality-testing? Are we on the verge of the kind of dystopian society commonly depicted in so many of our recent young adult novels?
Or is there hope? And are there ways of coping and strategies for fighting for the future that can be adopted by writers, journalists, educators, and citizens?
Join us for a panel discussion featuring:
Babette Babich, Professor of Philosophy, Fordham University
Peter Brown, Science Writer and former Editor-In-Chief of The Sciences, and Natural History, and member of Scientific American's Editorial Board.
Katherine Fry, Professor of Media Studies and Chair of the Department of Television and Radio, Brooklyn College, City University of New York
Paul Thaler, Professor of Communications, Adelphi University
Moderator: Lance Strate, NYSGS President & Professor of Communication & Media Studies, Fordham University
6 PM to 9 PM February 8th at the historic Players Club in Gramercy Park.
Registration is free, but all attendees must be registered in order to gain admittance to the club. This includes any guests you might want to bring with you.
The program will take place in the Library on the 2nd floor of the club. Please note that, as an historic 19th century landmark, the site is not handicap accessible. Dress code is business casual and is strictly enforced, including no sneakers, shorts, ripped jeans, t-shirts).