Is that a fact?

Is that a fact?

"Is that a fact?" is produced by the non-partisan national education non-profit the News Literacy Project. It seeks to inform listeners about news literacy issues that affect their lives through informative conversations with experts working to combat misinformation.

Episodes

May 4, 2022 53 min

In this episode, we interview Dr. Reece Jones, chair of the Department of Geography and Environment at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and author of White Borders: The History of Race and Immigration in the United States from Chinese Exclusion to the Border Wall, for an overview of the most enduring false narratives that have shaped our public conversations about immigration.

We then speak to Roberto Suro, a professor of journali...

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In this episode we talk to two journalists covering the Russian invasion of Ukraine to help us better understand how disinformation and propaganda are obscuring, or outright contradicting, the facts, both within Russia and beyond its borders. 

Our first guest, Roman Anin, is a Pulitzer Prize-winner and founder and editor-in-chief of the Russian news portal iStories and a former investigative journalist for the recently shuttered Rus...

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December 16, 2021 52 min

In this episode, we set out to explore whether false narratives about the pandemic and the COVID-19 vaccines have overshadowed science or whether science has managed to hold its own, particularly in light of the politicization of the pandemic.

Politics has certainly influenced who has chosen to get vaccinated. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “there continue to be differences in COVID-19 vaccination rates along partisan li...

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In this episode, we set out to explore whether the narrative of the country’s deep political polarization is fiction or reality. If you follow the news, you’ve probably heard that the country is deeply divided on political issues. Since 1992, no presidential candidate has received more than 53% of the popular vote. In recent years, Congress has routinely been deadlocked over some of the country’s most pressing issues. But what’s go...

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For the second season of Is that a fact?, we’re exploring the origins of false narratives and the harm they have caused. We know that sharing misinformation is misleading and leaves people poorly informed, but we wanted to go deeper and explore how fictional information starts and then bubbles to the surface to misdirect the country’s civic and cultural discourse.

For our first episode of the season, we take a look back at the myths...

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In this special episode of Is that a fact? we explore why some people remain hesitant to get one of the COVID-19 vaccines, despite growing evidence that inoculation is the key to getting our lives and the economy back on track. We wanted to find out just how much misinformation might be to blame for that reluctance or if genuine concerns about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines might be giving people pause.

To answer this ...

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This episode, which was recorded live on Zoom on Wednesday, November 18 with a panel of experts, is our season finale. Our host moderated a conversation with Enrique Acevedo of CBS’ “60 in 6,” Dr. Joan Donovan of the Shorenstein Center and Jane Lytvynenko of BuzzFeed News about how misinformation impacted the 2020 elections and what we can anticipate on the horizon. 

Acevedo is a correspondent on the new CBS production “60 in 6.” Be...

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Our guest this week is Jennifer Kavanagh, a senior political scientist at RAND corporation, a nonprofit global public policy think tank. Our host spoke to Kavanagh about a phenomenon she and her colleagues have dubbed “Truth Decay.” We wanted to know why truth has been under assault in recent years, why Americans are increasingly rejecting the expertise of institutions we used to hold in high esteem and what we can do about it?

 Kav...

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November 2, 2020 32 min

Our guest this week is Cindy Otis, a former CIA analyst who is now the vice president for analysis for Alethea Group, where she leads disinformation investigations in the private sector. Our host spoke to Otis about why conspiracy theories have become more mainstream, what’s lending them such currency and what we can do to inoculate ourselves against them.

Otis spent 10 years at the CIA as a military analyst, intelligence briefer, a...

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October 28, 2020 35 min

Our guest this week is Gilbert Bailon, the editor-in-chief of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Our host spoke to Bailon about the importance of local news to American democracy. Local news organizations have been gutted in recent years, leaving communities across the country with little to no coverage and stripping them of their watchdogs. What are the consequences for American democracy and why should everyday Americans care? 

Bailon j...

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October 21, 2020 28 min

Our guest this week is Rebecca Aguilar, a multiple Emmy award-winning reporter who recently became the first Latina president-elect of the Society of Professional Journalists. Our host spoke to Aguilar about how the gatekeeping role of journalists has been altered by the internet and social media, what’s been lost, but also what’s been gained. They also discussed the need for greater diversity in American newsrooms and what needs t...

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Our guest this week is Deen Freelon, an associate professor at the Hussman school of Journalism and Media at Univesrity of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Our host spoke to Freelon about how foreign adversaries, and particularly the Internet Research Agency in Russia, are using social media platforms against us. We explore how foreign governments wage disinformation campaigns against us, who they target and why. Are they succeeding? A...

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Our guest is Kara Swisher, one of the premiere tech columnists in the country. Our host spoke to Swisher about how social media platforms have affected our ability to talk to one another. Have platforms like Facebook contributed to the rise of misinformation. Do social media platforms have a responsibility to police certain content? Swisher has been a long-time critic of the power of tech companies, their use of personal data and t...

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Within journalism circles, Maria Ressa is a hero.  She is a veteran journalist, as well as the co-founder, executive editor and CEO of  Rappler , a popular online news website in the Philippines. Ressa is celebrated for her critical coverage of President Rodrigo Duterte and for enduring legal challenges to her site’s reporting.

She has experienced first-hand how hard it is for journalists to hold the line against an authoritarian l...

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Michael Luo is the editor of the newyorker.com. We spoke to him about a piece he wrote on The Hutchins Commission which was formed during World War II to decide how the press could serve democracy during a period of intense political strife and distrust in the media. At the time tribalism was fueling division in the country, and the press was seen as further sowing discord. The piece was written for The New Yorker’s series on “The ...

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Today, a core element of American democracy — access to reliable information — is threatened. How did this happen? And how can American democracy survive the impact of misinformation? Our guest is Brendan Nyhan. He is a contributor to The Upshot at the New York Times and a co-founder at Bright Line Watch, a group that monitors the status of American democracy. He is a professor of government at Dartmouth College.

Is that a fact? is ...

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September 5, 2020 2 min

Welcome to Is that a fact?, a new podcast brought to you by the News Literacy Project

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