Weekly News Digest, No. 21

Welcome to the twenty-first installment of the Project on Civil Discourse’s Weekly News Digest, hosted on our Real Talk blog.

Student Discussions

Are you interested in the role of political, social, and racial identity in speech? Do you want to talk with your peers about campus speech, civility, or post-truth conversations?

The Project on Civil Discourse is holding twenty student discussions where a group of 8-10 students and two peer facilitators come together to talk about discourse from a variety of different angles. For a list of discussions and to register, click here.

Upcoming Events

On Thursday, March 21st, the University of California’s National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement will host their #SpeechMatters conference at their Washington Center. With a focus on the future of free expression on college campuses, the conference will feature panels on civil discourse and online speech, along with a keynote lecture and other functions. For a detailed schedule and list of speakers or to register, click here.

The Global Education Forum, “Hate Comes to Campus,” will be held on Thursday, March 28th. The Forum will feature a 2:30pm panel discussing free speech and the campus community and a 5:00pm panel discussing the radical right and global education. The Project on Civil Discourse is co-sponsoring the Forum and PCD Director Lara Schwartz will be a member of the first panel. For more information or to register, click here.

Free Speech on Campus

At CPAC on Saturday, President Donald Trump announced: “I will be very soon signing an executive order requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want federal research grants.” Trump didn’t give further details about an order that will “appeal to conservative lawmakers who have increasingly sought intervene in campus matters,” The Chronicle of Higher Education reports. This announcement echoes a February 2017 tweet in which Trump threatened U.C. Berkeley’s federal funds after students protested the visit of right-wing provocateur, Milo Yiannopoulos.

Free Speech and SCOTUS

Schenck v. United States celebrated its 100th birthday on Sunday, marking a century since the Supreme Court “weighed in for one of the first times on the meaning of the First Amendment.” Christopher Daly writes about how the Supreme Court’s ruling has shaped free speech in the decades since, especially in the context of a free press. Daly concludes: “Judging from the wartime reporting in recent decades about the Pentagon Papers case, the My Lai Massacre, and the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, the record suggests that Americans need a free and robust news media every bit as much in wartime as in peacetime.”

Information Literacy

Recent research suggests that individuals who “ascribe profundity to randomly generated sentences” tend to believe that fake news is accurate and struggle to differentiate fake and real news. Similarly, individuals who claim they are smarter than they are “also perceive fake news as more accurate.” These results “reinforce the important role that analytic thinking plays in the recognition of misinformation.”

Thanks for reading!

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