‘The Open Mind’ host discusses 2020 president race in virtual event

'The Open Mind' host Alexander Heffner

The Institute for Media and Public Trust at Fresno State presents a talk with journalist Alexander Heffner at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 21, live on Zoom. Registration is free, and the event is open to the community.

In his talk entitled “The 2020 Campaign: Uncivil and Unwell in America,” Heffner will examine the critical role of information integrity in facilitating our democracy and ensuring a safe, fair and free election. Beginning with the 2016 presidential campaign, he will chronicle what he calls the last four years’ disinformation and “a concerted attempt to unravel fact-based discourse.” He will also explore what we can do to correct it in the weeks leading up to the election and beyond.

“I think that trust is most important, and cultivating that trust means understanding misinformation and disinformation,” Heffner explained. “We live in an age where the intentional and malicious harm to the public is evident.”

Heffner is the host of “The Open Mind,” which airs Sundays at noon on PBS. What sets “The Open Mind” apart from other political programs, Heffner said, is a focus on public policy, ideas and how to work to solve the fundamental problems our society faces collectively.

“In the past three years, we have specifically confronted the rise of authoritarianism and bigotry and have done so explicitly. I think that is our distinction right now, that we are identifying and attempting to mitigate and extinguish those really dangerous threats to democracy,” Heffner said.

Heffner has been profiled in The WrapMediaiteThe Washington PostNew York Times and NBC News. His writing has appeared in many news outlets, including WIREDTimeUSA Today and The New York Daily News. He co-authored the book “A Documentary History of the United States.

He has received the University of Denver’s Anvil of Freedom Award, Franklin Pierce University’s Fitzwater Medallion for Leadership in Public Communication and Yale University’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

The event is hosted by the Department of Media, Communications and Journalism and the Fresno State Institute for Media and Public Trust.

For more information on this event, contact Jim Boren with the Institute for Media and Public Trust at Fresno State.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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