‘A Post-Truth Nation’ panel to be hosted Feb. 22 by Vanderbilt Libraries

Vanderbilt Political Science Geer
Vice provost and political science professor John Geer will moderate the panel.

The panel discussion “A Post-Truth Nation … and the Power of the (Fake) Press” will take place in the Vanderbilt Central Library Community Room Feb. 22.

The panelists are Angie Drobnic Holan, editor of the PolitiFact website; Ken Paulson, president of the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center and dean of the College of Media and Entertainment at Middle Tennessee State University; and Bernard F. Reilly, president of the Center for Research Libraries. John Geer, vice provost for academic and strategic affairs and Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, will serve as moderator for the discussion, which begins at 3 p.m.

The discussion on the current state of news, particularly fake news, is the second event in Vanderbilt Libraries’ new Open Mind series. “[lquote]We hope to dive into this current issue and begin a more complete dialogue about fake news, opinion, propaganda, and internet click-bait[/lquote],” said Valerie Hotchkiss, university librarian at Vanderbilt. “Just as students and scholars rely on vetted information to build research, this program will explore how communities of citizens can become better information consumers to build a more truthful national dialogue.”

Angie Drobnic Holan

In 2007, Holan helped launch PolitiFact, a fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others who speak up in American politics. She was part of the team that won the Pulitizer Prize for PoliFact’s coverage of the 2008 election. Holan has been with the Tampa Bay Times since 2005 and also worked at other newspapers in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and New Mexico.

Bernard F. Reilly

Since 2001, Reilly has been president of the Center for Research Libraries, a partnership of more than 200 U.S. and Canadian university, college and independent research libraries devoted to supporting advanced research in the humanities, sciences and social sciences. Under Reilly’s leadership, the organization has undertaken several digital preservation initiatives, including “Preserving News in the Electronic Environment.” Reilly previously worked for the Chicago History Museum and the Library of Congress.

Ken Paulson

Paulson, who helped found USA Today, led the First Amendment Center on the Vanderbilt campus from 1997 to 2004. He then served as editor-in-chief of USA Today for five years before returning to the First Amendment Center in 2010. For the past four years, he has also led MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment. He is a member of USA Today’s board of contributors.

Geer, who joined the Department of Political Science in 1995, serves as co-director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions and the Vanderbilt Poll. He is the author of In Defense of Negativity: Attacks Ads in Presidential Campaigns. Geer has done extensive interviews about politics for the news media, including CNN, FOX, NPR and more. Geer has also written op-ed pieces for Politico, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today and Chicago Tribune.

The library’s Open Mind series is free and open to the public. It is co-sponsored by Vanderbilt Libraries, the First Amendment Center and the Office of the Dean of Students. For more information, email Nancy Dwyer or call (615) 343-1222.