Conspiracy theories are no longer confined to photocopied newsletters and obscure books—they are now seen by millions. The conspiracy website InfoWars has as many monthly users as the Chicago Tribune, and its daily three-hour radio show is syndicated on 160 radio stations.
Misinformation and conspiracy theories have always been part of human culture, but now they travel at fiber-optic speed, allowing like-minded theorists to connect more easily than ever. The result is the creation of staggeringly large online conspiracy networks and self-reinforcing ideas. Further, the speed, reach, and fracturing brought about by the digital age has allowed cynical opportunists to thrive. Hostile foreign powers like Russia now use misinformation and conspiracies to attempt to sway American elections and sow discord.
Are conspiracy theories the new normal in American discourse? Why are lies so compelling, and why and how do they spread so quickly? What are the ways disinformation can be used as a political weapon, and how might our democracy be affected? How do we curb disinformation while balancing free speech?
Join us for a conversation with experts at the front lines of the information wars: David Mikkelson, the founder of Snopes.com, one of the first and most well-regarded fact-checking websites; and University of Washington professors Kate Starbird, who studies how information spreads online after a disaster, and Jevin West, whose class on misinformation, titled “Calling Bullshit,” went viral in 2017. Moderated by KUOW’s Ross Reynolds.
Event is free and open to the public. Register here.
This event is part of our fall statewide series, “Moment of Truth: Journalism and Democracy in an Age of Misinformation.” Click here for more information.
We thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of this initiative and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership.
- October 16, 2018
- Naked City Brewery
8564 Greenwood Ave N Seattle, WA 98103 United States
About Think & Drink Events
Think & Drink events are hosted conversations at pubs and tasting rooms on provocative topics and new ideas. Scholars, experts, artists, or activists from a variety of disciplines participate in a moderated discussion, with a strong emphasis on audience participation. Events are held periodically throughout the year in Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, and Yakima.