Greenwich LWV, Library, take on “fake news”

May 15, 2017 GMT

GREENWICH — The words “fake news” and “alternative facts” will be the focus of a free panel discussion from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Greenwich Library.

What the phenomena means in a bitterly divided country will be the focus of the event, jointly sponsored by the library and League of Women Voters of Greenwich that will feature three prominent television and magazine journalists: Gretchen Carlson, Amy Davidson and Lizzie O’Leary.

“It seems the country is so divided right now that even verifiable facts are not trusted,” said Sheila Mehta, a member of the league’s program committee and board.

Carlson, a Greenwich resident, is a former host at Fox News who famously sued the company for sexual harassment, leading to the departure of channel founder Roger Ailes. She was one of Fox’s most visible talents.

Davidson has 20 years of experience writing for “The New Yorker;” O’Leary is a Peabody Award-winning journalist and host of Marketplace Weekend.

The event will be moderated by Lynn Oberlander, a first amendment lawyer.

“The press has been under siege lately,” Oberlander said. “Citizens of all political persuasions should consider the important role that a free press serves in our democracy. This discussion is timely and vital for all.”

The topic was chosen by the league because of the amount of public interest around the topic. Jill Oberlander, a member of the league served as the organizer of the event, and said a record number of people have already signed up to attend the event.

“For as long as I can remember, and certainly before the current president, select media outlets published what were generally accepted to be untrue stories or, in today’s parlance, ‘fake news,’” Jill Oberlander said. “While Fake News is the title of this program, we expect that the conversation will address a much broader range of topics related to the mainstream media. We consider the general public’s increasing distrust of media and their inability to easily separate verifiable from disputed facts to be topics that cross party lines.”

Jill Oberlander said part of the discussion will focus on how mainstream media can respond and regain the confidence of the public.

“This conversation could go in many different directions,” Jill Oberlander said. “There is no pre-determined outcome. The League thinks this is a very important conversation to have and, based on the record pre-registration for this panel, it is safe to say that the Greenwich public agrees.”

The panel will be held at Greenwich Library’s Cole Auditorium. A 6:40 p.m. reception with refreshments will be held outside the auditorium.

Advance registration is requested at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fake-news-alternative-facts-and-the-future-of-mainstream-media-tickets-34310188698?aff=es2.