Let's discuss 'fake news' in a time of 'alternative facts'

This is Sunshine Week, when journalists across America ask you to consider if you're better off knowing what your government is doing - or whether government can be trusted to work like one of Ron Popeil's kitchen appliances - just set it and forget it.

KUSA - Let's have a conversation about "fake news" stories, and the truth.

9NEWS and Next anchor Kyle Clark hosted a panel discussion about fighting "fake news" in a time of "alternative facts."

Our conversation included Jay Seaton, publisher of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, will talk about his threats to sue a state senator for defamation after the senator described the paper as “fake news." Sen. Ray Scott, a West Slope Republican, accused the Sentinel of printing “fake news” following a story about a pending bill to change the state’s public records law. Sen. Scott declined multiple invitations to take part in the interview, citing the pending lawsuit. He said he would change his mind if Seaton “swears off his lawsuit”.

You can see our full panel discussion here:

Also part of our Facebook panel:

Ari Armstrong, publisher of the Freedom Outlook and columnist for The Complete Colorado; Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton), who recently posted an article that that was found to be 100% false by Snopes.com; Bob Steele, ethicist formerly of the Poynter Institute in Tampa Florida;  Corey Hutchins, freelance writer who contributes to the Columbia Journalism Review; Linda Shapley, managing editor of The Denver Post; Luis Toro, executive director of Colorado Ethics Watch; Anastasiya Bolton, 9NEWS investigative reporter and Tony Kovaleski, investigative reporter for KMGH.

The event was sponsored by the local chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists and the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition as part of Sunshine Week, a nationwide effort to shed light on the access to public records across the country. 

Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition Director Jeff Roberts says discussions about what is truth and what is “fake news” is critical.

“It’s really important to our democracy that people understand what their government is doing and they need to know facts about what their government is doing.”

Roberts says “fake news” stories make it harder for the public to know how to understand what the government is doing.

“Professional journalists do their jobs by trying to get to the truth about an issue and when it’s called ‘fake news’, it is much harder for the public to know what to believe,” Roberts said.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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