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Sifting Through the Ashes of Truth: John Peter Altgeld, the Press, and the Internet's Fake News Conundrum

A Road Scholar Program by Bryan Murley

John Peter Altgeld was Illinois’ first “progressive” governor, serving from 1893-1897. An immigrant, he fought for workers’ rights, women’s rights, penal reform, child labor laws, and angered industrialists by refusing to break up the Pullman Strike. Throughout his public life, Altgeld learned much about how the press could twist and obscure the facts of events to present “fake news.” Yes, “fake news” was as much a problem for the 19th century as it is today. The difference for us is that there are more tools available to combat lies and distortions created by political operatives intent on damaging the credibility of legitimate news. How can we as citizens in a democracy better navigate the oceans of information surrounding us and make sense of it all? Beginning with Altgeld, I will lay out an alternative to the toxic media environment that permeates our times and enable citizens to become informed news consumers using media literacy tools online and off.

This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact Sarah Watkins at swatkins@marioncarnegielibrary.org.