2018 Breaux Symposium | LSU Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs

Anatomy of Fake News 

Anatomy of Fake News

Technological transitions from linear to digital forums, the rise of populism, and severe partisan polarization have combined to place intense pressures on many involved in media and public affairs. “Fake news” as a meme and rhetorical slogan is a symptom of this disorientation. Professional methods of fact-finding and verification have come under intense scrutiny. How can we best proceed with democratic politics in this gale force mediascape, where editing follows publishing, institutions run chronic trust deficits, falsehoods spread automatically, and everything is available to everyone? This conference explored the root causes of this epidemic of fake news by focusing on 1) the historical antecedents, 2) anti-establishment populism, 3) the role of mediating institutions, 4) technological enablement and amelioration, and 5) how to address these issues.

Sponsored by the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University and the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs at the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication, the 2018 Breaux Symposium brought scholars and news experts together in the nation's capital to discuss the reality, dangers, and solutions to the pervasive problem of fake news.

Watch the sessions below

An Anatomy of Fake News: A Modern History

Session 1

Paper by Heidi Tworek, Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia (Vancouver) and 
Jack Hamilton, Hopkins P. Breazeale Professor of Journalism, 
Manship School of Mass Communications, Louisiana State University

Lead discussant: Tom Rosenstiel, Executive Director, American Press Institute

Populism in America, Then and Now

Session 2

Paper by Jay Cost, Contributing Editor, Weekly Standard and Author, A Republic No More: 
Big Government and the Rise of American Political Corruption

Lead discussant: Sid Milkis, White Burkett Miller Professor of the Department of Politics and 
Faculty Associate at the Miller Center, University of Virginia

The Changing Institutional Role of the Parties;
Technology and the News Media

Session 3

Session 3 paper by Elaine Kamarck, Founding Director, The Center for Effective Public Management & Senior Fellow, 
Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution

Session 3 lead discussant: David Karol, Associate Professor, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland (College Park)

Session 4 

Session 4 paper by Jonathan Albright, Director of Research, The Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia University

Session 4 lead discussant: Ryan Thornburg, Director, The Reese News Lab, and Reese Felts Distinguished Associate Professor, University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill)

Weighing the Solutions

Session 5

Len Apcar, Wendell Gray Switzer Jr. Endowed Chair in Media Literacy & Fellow, 
The Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs, Louisiana State University

Michael Cornfield, Research Director and Associate Professor, 
The Graduate School of Political Management, George Washington University

Paul Mihailidis, Associate Professor Department of Journalism, Emerson College 

The 2018 Report

Read the report here

2018 Breaux Symposium Report Cover

Meet our partner

George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management

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Meet the experts

Read their biographies
Panelists engage in discussion on Fake News