Trump, fake news and the 'crisis' of American political reporting?
Free Public Lecture
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Since Donald Trump’s election, public concern has intensified about 'alternative facts', his self-proclaimed 'war' on journalists, and the prevalence of fake news in a ‘post-truth’ era. Not only does this create confusion about what is real and what is not, but trust in news media is falling in many countries including the US and Australia. This is compounded by the fact that the internet makes it easier for misinformation, whether deliberate or not, to spread. Inaccurate reporting has consequences for news media's role in democracies to provide a well-informed citizenry and critical scrutiny of political elites.
In this climate, powerful figures like Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin are outwardly hostile to journalists and mainstream reporting processes. US National Intelligence alleged that Russia created fake news to manipulate the 2016 Presidential election and Trump further fuelled public mistrust by calling journalists “the most dishonest human beings on earth”. If the current President of the United States does not respect professional journalists, is American political reporting in ‘crisis’? And what are the implications of ‘fake news’ and loss of trust in the media for other democracies like Australia? To answer these questions the University of Melbourne welcomes an insider of the American political press corps, highly distinguished op-ed columnist with The Washington Post, Dana Milbank.
Dana Milbank has been a nationally syndicated op-ed columnist with The Washington Post since 2005. Generally appearing 4 times a week, his opinion column is the most popular on the Post’s website and also runs in 275 other newspapers.
Mr Dana Milbank, The Washington Post
Mr Dana Milbank
The Washington Post
Mr Dana Milbank has been a nationally syndicated oped columnist with The Washington Post since 2005. Generally appearing 4 times a week, his opinion column is the most popular on the Post’s website and also runs in 275 other newspapers. Before joining the Post, Milbank spent 2 years with the New Republic covering the Clinton administration and 8 years with the Wall Street Journal covering Congress. He joined the Post at the beginning of the 2000 presidential campaign and covered President George W. Bush’s first term and the 2004 election. He has won the White House Correspondents' Association Beckman award for “repeated excellence in White House coverage,” earned the National Press Club's Gingras prize for humor writing, and was named one of the nation’s top political journalists by Columbia Journalism Review. Milbank also provides political commentary for MSNBC and various other TV and radio outlets and is the author of three books on politics: "Tears of a Clown" (2010), the national bestseller "Homo Politicus" (2008) and "Smashmouth" (2000).