On Sunday 4th February, a crowd of more than 50 people squeezed into the coffee bar at Newbury’s Corn Exchange to hear investigative journalist, James Ball, on how the post-truth society developed and what we can do to resist mainstream journalism’s slide away from factual reporting toward bias and opinion.
James trained at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. He has worked at Wikileaks, the BBC and at the Guardian USA, where he played a key part in the coverage of the Edward Snowden leaks of US intelligence, the reporting of which won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
In Sunday’s event James talked about ‘How Bullsh*t Conquered the World’ and the logic behind the Trump approach to fake-news and misinformation.
As ever the Newbury Talks’ audience challenged the speaker with insightful questions. James Ball gave excellent, blunt answers: Quizzed about what we, the public, can do to help stop the slide into nonsense and fakery, James responded: “The problem is, the public are a bunch of stinking liars, just like everyone else”.
After the event, the organiser, Judith Bunting said,
“This was one of the best Newbury Talks, so far. James Ball is a witty, intelligent speaker. Our audience – old, young, male, female and from all sides of the political spectrum – are always up for a challenging debate. Everyone appreciated his refreshing, no-nonsense approach.
On Sunday 18th March, Newbury Talks moves to Nanotechnology with Dr Sophie Kain discussing – How much is hype, how much is happening? This is a free, un-ticketed event. Everyone is welcome to come along.