Albany: Telling The Truth In A Post-Truth World

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kurt andersonThe New York State Writers Institute will hold a  two-day symposium, Telling the Truth in a Post-Truth World, October 12th to 14th, which will feature guests of interest to the history community, including Douglas Brinkley on a panel about the American Presidency with Bob Schieffer; David Daley, former editor of Salon, with Ratf**ked, a history of gerrymandering and vote-rigging; recent Lt. Gov. candidate Tim Wu, with a new book on the history of advertising, The Attention Merchants; Carol Anderson, with her current bestselling history of white resentment, White Rage; Pamela Newkirk, author of a history of African Americans in journalism; Kurt Andersen, with a grand history of American flimflammery and snake oil salesmanship, Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire, and more.

The multi-event symposium will cover topics crucial to an open democratic society.  All members of the general public are invited to following events. Everything is free and unticketed, apart from the first event, which requires a book purchase to raise money for programming.

October 12 (Thursday): Kurt Andersen, award-winning author, journalist, and radio host will host a conversation with WAMC’s Joe Donahue at 7 pm, in the Campus Center Ballroom, Uptown Campus, 1400 Washington Ave., free parking in State Quad Student lots. Kurt Andersen is a writer, editor, critic, and the host of WNYC’s Peabody-winning public radio program Studio 360. Cofounder of Spy magazine, he contributes to Vanity Fair and The New York Times, and was a cultural columnist for Time and The New Yorker. Andersen is also the coauthor, with Saturday Night Live’s Alec Baldwin, of You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump (A So-Called Parody). Andersen will discuss his new book, Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History (2017), which examines the current phenomenon of “fake news” and the blurred lines between reality and illusion in the culture and politics of 21st century America from a historical perspective.

$30 admission charge for two tickets, which includes a copy of Fantasyland (UAlbany students admitted free with valid ID). Contact The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza (518) 489-4761 for advance tickets/book, or purchase at the door. Part of the book sale proceeds will fund NYS Writers Institute programming.

October 13 (Friday): A panel will be held 4 pm to 5:30 pm on Media in the Age of New Technology: Fake News, Information Overload, & Media Literacy. Moderated by Bob Schieffer, moderator of three presidential debates, former anchor of CBS Evening News and Face the Nation, and author of Overload: Finding the Truth in Today’s Deluge of News (2017). Panelists include Franklin Foer, staff writer of The Atlantic and former editor of The New Republic, and author of World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech (2017); David Goodman, contributor to Mother Jones magazine and co-author with his sister Amy Goodman of the book Democracy Now! Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America (2016); Maria Hinojosa, journalist and talk show host, anchor and executive producer of Latino USA and founder of the Futuro Media Group, dedicated to promoting diversity in American media; and Tim Wu, professor at Columbia Law School, originator of “net neutrality” and author of Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires (2010), and The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads (2016).

From 8 pm to 9:30 pm another panel will be held on Presidents and the Press: Trump, Nixon & More. Moderated by Bob Schieffer, including panelists Douglas Brinkley, CNN Presidential historian and biographer of Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford; Amy Goodman, investigative reporter, host and producer of the award-winning news program, Democracy Now! that airs on over 1,400 public television and radio stations worldwide; Harry Rosenfeld, Times Union editor-at-large, and former Metro Editor at The Washington Post who oversaw the paper’s coverage of Watergate; and Glenn Thrush, White House correspondent for the New York Times.

On Saturday, October 14, from 9:30 am to 11 am a panel will be held on Dirty Deeds: Election Mischief, Cybercrimes & Civil Liberties. Moderated by Victor Asal, UAlbany faculty expert in terrorism and homeland security and Chair, Department of Public Administration. Panelists include Russell Banks, bestselling novelist, past President of the International Parliament of Writers, and founder and President of Cities of Refuge North America; David Daley, Digital Media Fellow at the University of Georgia, and author of Ratf**ed: The True Story Behind the Secret Plans to Steal America’s Democracy (2016); James Steiner, ex-CIA official and Program Coordinator for Homeland Security, Cyber Security and Emergency Management at UAlbany’s Rockefeller College; Kelley Vlahos, Managing Editor of The American Conservative, longtime political writer for, and journalist specializing in national security, war policy, and civil liberties; and Kelly Vlahos, Fox News.

From 11:30 am to 1 pm, a panel will be held on Race, Class, and the Future of Democracy. Moderated by Gilbert King, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author of Devil in the Grove (2012). Panelists include Carol Anderson, professor of African-American History at Emory University and author of the national bestseller, White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide (2016); José Cruz, Director of UAlbany’s Center for Latino, Latin American, and Caribbean Studies, and author of Puerto Rican Identity, Political Development, and Democracy in New York, 1960-1990 (2017); Juan González, investigative reporter, co-host of Democracy Now! and author of Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America (2000), and Reclaiming Gotham (2017); Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, journalist, MacArthur Fellow, and author of Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx (2003); and Juan Gonzalez, Democracy Now!.

From 2:30 pm to 4 pm a panel will be held on The First Amendment & Free Speech Under Attack. Moderated by Ashleigh Banfield, award-winning journalist and TV personality, host of Primetime Justice on HLN and former anchor of CNN’S Legal View. Panelists include Floyd Abrams, the nation’s pre-eminent First Amendment attorney, senior counsel at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, and author of The Soul of the First Amendment (2017); Anthony Paul Farley, James Campbell Matthews Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence at Albany Law School, where he teaches Advanced Constitutional Law; Kristina Findikyan, senior counsel at Hearst, one of the nation’s largest media companies, where she specializes in First Amendment and libel law; Richard Honen, corporate attorney in charge of the Albany office of Phillips Lytle LLP and conservative commentator on WAMC’s The Roundtable; and Ashleigh Banfield, CNN’s HLN Headline News.

From 7 pm to 8:30 pm a panel will be held on The End of Newspapers? Moderated by Rex Smith, editor of the Albany Times Union and host of “The Media Project” on WAMC/Northeast Public Radio. Panelists include Bill Keller, former executive editor of The New York Times and director of The Marshall Project, an investigative journalism project on criminal justice issues; Pamela Newkirk, journalist and professor of journalism at NYU, and author of Within the Veil: Black Journalists, White Media (2000); Richard Tofel, founding general manager and current president of Pro Publica – the independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest – and former assistant publisher of The Wall Street Journal; Jim Rich, Executive Editor of HUFFPOST (The Huffington Post), and former Editor-in-Chief at the NY Daily News; and Pamela Newkirk, NYU Journalism.

A Book signing and public reception will be held from 8:45 pm to 10 pm.

All panels will be held at Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, UAlbany Downtown Campus, Albany, NY.

For more information, click here, or contact the Writers Institute at (518) 442-5620 or email

Photo of Kurt Anderson provided.

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