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It’s that time again. Every four years, Americans rediscover the muddy sport of presidential politics. Each time around, we are reminded that the electoral process isn’t as tidy as a Schoolhouse Rock civics lesson. Yet the 2016 election seems to set a new standard for disruption. Voter anger is at record levels, and trust in democratic institutions is at an all-time low. Fact-checking has become a growth industry. Analysts are questioning how the electoral process has influenced news media, and vice versa, reviving the 30-year-old prophecy that we are at risk of amusing ourselves to death.

A September 2016 conversation with veteran journalists Jeff Greenfield and Leonard Pitts, as we consider diagnoses for what ails our civic enterprise and, ultimately, consider prescriptions for change.

Speaker's Current Columns:

Leonard Pitts, Jr.: Miami Herald

Jeff Greenfield

  • Sign Up: DIY Fact-Checking
    Fact-checking isn't just something for specialized media outlets: beat reporters, readers and voters can use basic tools to verify information shared by politicians, news sources and a crazy uncle on Facebook. For 10 weeks starting July 21, The Poynter Institute’s weekly fact-checking newsletter will challenge readers with practical exercises that test their fact-checking chops.
    (Select "The Week in Fact-Checking" newsletter to subscribe.)
  • Subscribe: Fact-Check 2016
    For Twitter users, go to @blankfoundation and subscribe to our customized Fact-Check 2016 list for postings from the best fact checkers in the business.
  • Hold the Date: Webcast
    Add our September 20th Blank Family Foundation Speaker Series live webcast to your calendar. Our conversation with journalists Jeff Greenfield and Leonard Pitts on the media and the 2016 presidential election will stream live from 6-7:30 p.m. (ET). There will be limited seating at the event. Stay tuned this summer for more information.


Voter Anger is Up, Trust in Institutions is Down
The New York Times, May 15, 2016
On Trade, Angry Voters Have a Point
PBS Newshour, March 20, 2016
What we can learn from our history of political discontent
PBS Newshour, Feb. 5, 2016
Has the U.S. motto become ‘In Nothing We Trust’?
Vox, Dec. 18, 2015
Are Americans losing faith in democracy?
Fact-Checking Is a Growth Industry
international journalists’ network, June 30, 2016
Q&A with Alexios Mantzarlis: A new age of global fact-checking

The Washington Post, June 7, 2016
Many Trump supporters don’t believe his wildest promises – and they don’t care
The Poynter Institute, May 25, 2016
Annotation might be the future of fact-checking
The Washington Post, May 19, 2016
Fact-checking in a ‘post-fact world’
Influence of Media on the Election, and Vice Versa
The New York Times, May 30, 2016
Television Networks Struggle to Provide Equal Airtime in the Era of Trump
The Poynter Institute, May 26, 2016
When it comes to social media, news consumers tend to stick with 1 source
Medium, May 16
Facebook is the new paperboy; How news gets distributed is changing how newsrooms work
The Washington Post, May 9, 2016
Did Facebook bury conservative news? Ex-staffers say yes.