On Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 6:30 p.m., Patten Free Library in Bath will host a talk by former journalist and retired executive Chet Lunner on the subject of fake news. 

Lunner has a 360-degree perspective on fake news, the First Amendment, and an inside-the-Beltway view of the national government,” states a news release from Patten Free LibraryLunner has been a Maine newspaper editor, Congressional chief of staff, 9/11 press secretary, Homeland Security intelligence officer, and staffer to four Cabinet secretaries. He worked with, or consulted for USA Today, U.S. Congress and the TSA and DHS. 

The release continued: “The credibility of American journalism is suffering amid today’s fake news epidemic, but real reporting isn’t dead, according to LunnerThe crux of his message is that the freedom of the press belongs to those who own one, an idea popularized by New Yorker journalist A.J. Liebling. And now, with the rise of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, nearly anyone in the world can own, effectively, a personal press. At the clack of the keys and the click of a button, misinformation can make its way into the world, unvetted. While traditional media outlets follow strict codes of ethics, with editors investigating the legitimacy of information, today’s digital climate often shifts that onus to the public. 

The release cites a Pew study reporting that twothirds of Americans get their news from social media. a problematic statistic in a world where, for instance, Russia can target ads and videos that reach 146 million Americans, as they did to sway votes around the 2016 election. 

Lunner held editor roles at the Kennebec Journal, the former Biddeford-Saco Journal Tribune and the former Portland Evening Express and served as the founding president of Maine’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.  

Lunner was a national correspondent for Gannett News Service and USA Today in Washington, but he has devoted the past 15 years to the Transportation Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security and — even in retirement — a number of national security consulting and education organizations. 

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