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VANESSA OTERO'S MEDIA ANALYSIS CHART

ETHRIDGE: DECIPHERING 'FAKE NEWS' 
Tim Ethridge is editor of the Courier & Press. Email him at tim.ethridge@courierpress.com.  Published March 26, 2017. 

Ten days before Donald Trump's presidential inauguration, I was invited by the League of Women Voters of Southwestern Indiana to talk with them, at their March meeting, about "fake news."

In early January, "fake news" seemed pretty simple: Stories that someone made up, posted on a purchased but official-sounding website, and then collected advertising money and created havoc nationwide with thousands of views.

Perhaps the best example was the story about "The Comet Ping Pong," a pizza place in a nice neighborhood in Washington DC. The "story," as reported, linked Hillary Clinton and those close to her to running a child sex slave ring out of the restaurant.

You would think that would be jump out to readers as being a false narrative. Yet a 28-year-old man from North Carolina took it to heart and after "reading up on it" on the Internet drove 350 miles to our nation's capital, took a weapon into the restaurant and fired it. No one was injured in his stated attempt to "rescue children;" in subsequent interviews, he did not disavow the stories that he heard from "word-of-mouth" and confirmed on the Internet.

That seemed a blatant example of "fake news," again a term you hate to use. If it's news, it isn't fake. If it's fake, it isn't news.

Yet from that beginning, and since the likely efforts by Russia to influence our election by planting stories of its own, "fake news" has become a political statement. If a politician, from a local party chief to the president of the United States, does not like or agree with a story, they brand it as "fake." And, more than ever, they are aiming the charges at legitimate news organizations, both local and national, not web sites that pop up in favor of certain causes.

Thus the conversation was launched over lunch on March 23 at McCollough Library on Evansville's East Side. The room was surprisingly, and somewhat frighteningly, full, with around 75 residents and readers eager to listen and, more importantly, share their thoughts. That always helps when you're far from the smartest person in the room, and when you write -- not talk -- for a living...

Click here to go to the entire C&P article

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Letter to the Evansville C&P Editor: KEEP REDISTRICTING HOPES ALIVE

Citizens plan to continue to fight for an Independent, nonpartisan Redistricting Commission in Indiana and to make the 2018 session of the Indiana legislature a referendum on redistricting reform.

Many districts around the state are non-competitive.  Often our citizens do not have a true choice of candidates, either within or between parties.

In Indiana The League of Women Voters, Common Cause, Hoosier Environmental Council, Citizens Action Coalition, Enterprise Republicans, Women 4 Change, Friends Committee on Legislation, and others, are committed to helping ensure that redistricting is done in a non-partisan, fair, and transparent way.  In addition to the cities and counties in Indiana that have passed resolutions endorsing redistricting reform, the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce recently endorsed the resolution for redistricting reform. 

Indiana House Bill 1014 was the redistricting reform bill (co-sponsored by Speaker Brian Bosma (R) and Rep. Jerry Torr (R) that followed recommendations of the Special Interim Study Committee on Redistricting Reform which met during 2016.  As reported in a Courier Press article 2-20-17, HB1014 was heard in committee on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 but not brought to the floor for a vote.  What is encouraging is that a committee member who had been unsure about the bill indicated that the great citizen support he witnessed led to a decision to support it, had a vote been held.  Were others willing to support the bill also?  We have been deprived of knowing how OUR representatives would have voted.

We encourage you to stay informed and to talk with both your Indiana House and Senate legislators to encourage their support for legislation establishing a nonpartisan redistricting commission during the 2018 legislative session.

from Meg Connolly, Chairperson of the Redistricting Committee of the League of Women Voters of Southwestern Indiana

DOWNLOAD A REDISTRICTING BROCHURE

Lezlie Simmons, President
P. O. Box 4456   Evansville, IN 47724


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