Trump vs. Biden vs. Media and Manipulation

Part of our "SNF Agora Conversations: Election 2020" series
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A month before election day, political journalists are struggling to cover a campaign with more than the usual share of falsehood, exaggeration and vitriol. Russian intelligence agencies are meddling once again, with China and Iran following close behind. Social media giants are slow to catch the disinformation or timid about intervening. How can voters sort fact from fiction and make an informed choice?


  • Jackie Calmes is an editor with the Los Angeles Times Washington bureau. She has covered national politics, the White House, Congress, and presidential campaigns for more than 30 years. She covered the Obama administration for The New York Times and for 18 years before that worked in The Wall Street Journal Washington Bureau, ending as the chief political correspondent.
  • Astead W. Herndon is a national political reporter for The New York Times. He was previously a Washington-based political reporter and a City Hall reporter for The Boston Globe.
  • Peter Pomerantsev is an SNF Agora Senior Fellow and co-director of the Arena initiative, a research project dedicated to overcoming the challenges of digital-era disinformation and polarization. His latest book, This is Not Propaganda, was released in August 2019 and was a Times Book of the Year.
  • Scott Shane, moderator, is an SNF Agora Visiting Fellow. He was a reporter in The New York Times Washington bureau for 15 years, where he was part of a team that won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for their coverage of Russian hacking, and another for their reporting on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.