Wed, Apr 21


Online via Zoom

Truth, Social Media and Conspiracy Theories: Is Truth Dead?

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Truth, Social Media and Conspiracy Theories: Is Truth Dead?

Time & Location

Apr 21, 2021, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM PDT

Online via Zoom

About the Event

Folio presents a timely series of panel discussions on Truth, Social Media Regulation and Cults and Conspiracy Theories, moderated by Folio board member Morton Kondracke.

With the US public and its political leaders increasingly polarized into Red and Blue "tribes"  isolated into separate and opposing information universes, it's difficult for many citizens to determine what's true and what are "alternative facts," "Fake News" and outright lies. 

Does lack of consensus on basic facts--on important issues such as election outcomes, climate change, and the COVID pandemic-- present a danger to democracy? How should a responsible citizen learn what's true? How do we teach young people to do so? And, how can mainstream media regain public trust?

Join us for a conversation with panelists Jevin West, Director of University of Washington Center for an Informed Public; Brier Dudley, editor of Seattle Times's Save the Free Media project; Seattle University Prof. Paul Kidder, Republican State Sen. Doug Ericksen and Chicago Sun-Times DC correspondent Lynn Sweet.

About the Panelists:

Douglas Ericksen is an American politician and lobbyist serving as a member of the Washington State Senate for the 42nd District in Whatcom County. Ericksen is the ranking member of the body's Energy, Environment, and Telecommunications Committee. In April 2019, he registered as a foreign agent to consult and lobby for the ex-Khmer Rouge official Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia

Lynn Sweet is the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times. She appears frequently on CNN and other outlets as an analyst. Sweet has a master's from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley. She also attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Sweet is a former fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. Sweet is in Northwestern University’s Medill Hall of Achievement and was named by Washingtonian Magazine as one of the capital’s "50 Top Journalists".

Dr. Paul Kidder's work is concentrated in the areas of metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics. He specializes in the philosophy of Bernard Lonergan and has interdisciplinary interests in urban studies and international development. He received his doctorate from Boston College in 1987 and he joined the Seattle University Philosophy Department in 1989.

Gavin West is an associate professor at the Information School and the inaugural director of the new Center. He is a co-founder of the DataLab, the nexus for research on Data Science and Analytics. West develops data mining techniques for studying the Science of Science, where he investigates the origins of scholarly disciplines, the social and economic biases that drive these disciplines, and the impact of the current publication system. Currently, his research focuses on misinformation specifically in and about science.

Brier Dudley is editor of The Seattle Times Save the Free Press Initiative. Previously he was a member of the Times editorial board, writing editorials and opinion columns. Before that he spent 14 years covering Microsoft and the technology industry, including nine years writing a tech column on the business page. A third-generation Seattleite, he received a BA in English from Whitman College and studied film production in Italy before starting a career in newspapers. He has won numerous regional and national journalism awards and several oyster-eating competitions.





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