Roundtable: (Fake) News Wars, Woeful Chargers And Padres, New Moves At The Opera And Symphony
Friday, November 25, 2016
Matthew Hall, editorial and opinion director, The San Diego Union-Tribune
Gina Lew, journalism professor, University of San Diego
Jay Paris, sportswriter, author
Nina Garin, arts editor, KPBS
Bad news: fake news and distrust
The media covered the 2016 presidential election for more than two years. At the bitter end, the spotlight was as much on the news media as on the candidates.
Criticism alleging poor reporting and outright bias was relentlessly heaped on what has come to be called the “mainstream media,” both from the right and the left. The theme of distrust of the media seemed to be everywhere, as were the reasons why.
One example: In September The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review asked Donald Trump Jr. what he thought about the Pulitzer-Prize-winning website Politifact. It found that 70 percent of Donald Trump's claims were mostly false or worse. Trump Jr. dismissed Politifact as “a very liberal organization.”
His meaning seems clear: Politifact is biased because it doesn’t agree with how he sees the world.
Facebook and Google have been heavily criticized for allowing completely fake stories, many from fly-by-night websites here and in Eastern Europe, to be posted. Both have said they are taking steps to curb the practice.
The routine dismissal of inconvenient facts, the avalanche of outright lies and the phenomenon of viral fake news on social media have made for an environment where facts are fungible and people consume only the stories that validate their own worldview.
Many — perhaps most — journalism students today can tell what is real from what is fake. But multitudes of stories are now shared with so many so fast it can be hard to stay vigilant.
Bad sports: Chargers and Padres
The voters of San Diego have spoken, loudly.
They gave notice that there is no way they will pay for a new Chargers stadium downtown. Of course, the Spanos family and the NFL could decide to pony up the entire $1.6 billion cost. But realistically, it looks like the Chargers choices are limited to Mission Valley or Inglewood.
Since the team seems to equate Mission Valley with Death Valley, there may be no stadium here at all. On the other hand, they are reportedly not crazy about being roommates with the L.A. Rams either.
They may have one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but the team is 4 and 6 this bye week, a record not conducive to getting more fan support. And the team might lose Coach Mike McCoy.
And then there are the Padres.
They had a 68-94 record this year, last in the National League West. That's a long way from the World Series, which the Padres played twice in recent history.
The question for long-suffering fans (not as long-suffering as Cubs fans, but still) is: Ss there any chance at all that next year the club will climb out of the hole it has dug for itself?
Good music: the opera and the symphony
Audiences for the San Diego Opera and San Diego Symphony are aging. At the same time, demographics in the region are becoming more diverse.
These two trends mean that local cultural institutions must adapt and change if they want to remain viable — and solvent.
The San Diego Opera is staging a few promotional performances at San Diego trolley stops, including on the blue line, which runs right by the Civic Center Theater.
It is also staging smaller, contemporary and far less costly works such as David Little’s “Soldier Songs."
The San Diego Symphony, meanwhile, is branching out this season with new programming from American composers in several genres. The symphony will lose Music Director and Conductor Jahja Ling at the end of the coming season. The expected parade of guest conductors trying out may draw audiences, as well.
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