By Jessica Clark and Nina Sachdev | Media Impact Funders
What can be said about President Trump that hasn’t already been said?
With an overwhelming amount of news media coverage devoted to his every comment—whether on Twitter or IRL—it’s hard to even imagine waking up to a headline that’s not about him.
And for the last year, we barely have.
How central are social and search platforms in spreading propaganda and misinformation—and what can be done to improve the quality of online information? To explore these questions, Kelly Born of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation hosted the second in a series of webinars about how funders can help fight “fake news.” (Read the recap of the first webinar here.)
Last month, Media Impact Funders, in collaboration with the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the Rita Allen Foundation, presented a webinar on The Public Face of Science, a new multi-year project to explore the intersection of science and civic life, and advance our understanding of the public’s view on science. The webinar offered funders a preview of soon-to-be published research and the opportunity to hear from two advisors to the project, Dr. Kathleen Hall Jamieson from the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Arthur (Skip) Lupia of the University of Michigan.
Update as of Dec. 19, 2017—We have completed our webinar series. Read up on the various ways in which funders are fighting misinformation on the three points of the information system: production, distribution and consumption.
By Kelly Born | Program officer for the Madison Initiative at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
“Fake news” continues to spread like wildfire across the western world, and American philanthropy is at the forefront of the battle to address it. From the recent prototype fund sponsored by the Knight and Rita Allen Foundations and the Democracy Fund, to the Gates, Ford, and Knight Foundations’ collaboration with Democracy Fund in support of CUNY’s News Integrity Initiative, to Craig Newmark and others’ investment in Poynter’s fact-checking initiative, many in philanthropy are seeking to help mitigate the effects of disinformation and propaganda.
The recent violence in Charlottesville, Va., has thrust racist ideas into the national conversation in ways Americans haven’t experienced before. Of course, tensions around race relations in the U.S. have been steadily building over the past few years, with high-profile protests around police shootings and a resurgence in hate groups. Intolerance in the streets has mirrored a spike in divisive rhetoric online, where trolls “drown out the voices of women, ethnic and religious minorities, gays—anyone who might feel vulnerable,” observes Joel Stein in Time. But most disturbingly, these same sentiments can now be heard in the highest corridors of power.