Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Freedom of the Press and Freedom From Fake News

The founders were wise enough that they made freedom of the press first among equals, as a constitutional guarantee. They also even understood fake news in the form of the pamphleteers of the day. But they never could have imagined bots and trolls and social media, as a way for that fake news to be disseminated at light speed. We’ve seen how lies beak from the gate quickly, and the truth can seldom seem to catch up.

For those that aren’t monitoring the news 24/7, and for the vast majority of the country that has neither the time nor resources to fact check every story, or each new online site, how are we to determine, as Stephen Colbert would say, the truthiness of stories.

We’ve seen lately that algorithms alone simply don’t work. So how can the human element be brought in, in a way that is informative and yet not intrusive? In a process that allows for advocacy, opinion and human bias, but still respects facts, expertise and professionalism? The answer might be Newsguard.

Steven Brill is the founder of American Lawyer, Court TV, Brill's Content and the Yale Journalism initiative. He’s recently confounded NewsGuard.

My conversation with Steven Brill: