Truth in Journalism: Whose Facts, Whose Reality?

Join us for a discussion with Dan Kennedy, an assistant professor of journalism at Northeastern University. Kennedy will speak at the Walden Forum on Thursday, December 6, at 7:30 p.m. Professor Kennedy teaches multimedia reporting, First Amendment law and other journalism courses.

The 2012 presidential campaign was marked – or marred – by an utter failure to find common ground. From climate change to polling analysis, from the rise of fact-checking to the decline of facts, the civic discourse was polluted by ideology and partisanship at the expense of rational analysis.

The media deserve a good deal of the blame. We have come a long way from the 1960s, when Walter Cronkite reassuringly (if inaccurately) concluded his newscast with “And that’s the way it is,” and news organizations such as the New York Times, Time and Newsweek, and the Associated Press were considered beyond reproach. Today, thanks to the Internet and cable television, we have more choices and more access to high-quality journalism than ever before. The tendency, though, is to cocoon with our own kind. Conservatives flock to Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and websites such as and the Daily Caller. Liberals choose MSNBC, the Huffington Post, and the Daily Kos.

Why do so many of us prefer spin over substance? Will the jolt of reality provided by the election results begin a return to empiricism? Or will Red America and Blue America continue to go their separate ways?