During the 2016 presidential campaign, social media was flooded with fake news designed to inject chaos, confusion, and rancor into the election. Foreign agents concocted stories about candidates on both sides of the aisle, targeting voters in key swing states. Openly partisan media outlets peddled dubious stories and viral content that Facebook and Twitter failed to stop. Meanwhile, media barons have purchased outlets in a flagrant attempt to slant their reporting, and billionaires have launched legal vendettas against magazines that cover them unflatteringly. Violence against journalists is also on the rise. How does fake news hurt our political discourse and elections? How can journalists safeguard freedom of expression when our profession is under attack from all sides? Is America still a paragon of press freedom in 2018?
Mark Stern covers courts and the law for Slate. He also edits Slate's LGBTQ section, Outward, which he co-founded in 2013, and serves as an American correspondent for Ireland's 2fm. Mark attended Georgetown University and obtained his JD from Georgetown University Law Center. He is a member of the American Bar Association's commission on the rights of LGBTQ people. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Advocate, National Geographic, and numerous law reviews. Mark's most recent law review article, The Judicial and Generational Dispute Over Transgender Rights, appears in this year's issue of the Stanford Law & Policy Review.
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