Skip to main content


Factions, Fears, and Fake News at Trinity College Dublin

Politics of the Present

dateNovember 6–7, 2017 locationEdmund Burke Theatre
  • Trinity Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute
  • Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policty
  • Registration required. See details.

For other events in this series see:

November 9th, Barnard Hall, James Room

November 10th, Columbia University, Heyman Center for the Humanities

Behind the Headlines

Freedom of Speech: Where Journalism and the Law Collide at the Boundary of 21st Century Debate

Monday, 6 November 2017, 6:30 – 8pm

In a world where truth is under siege, freedom of speech has never been more important.
But, as outrage and offense in public debate become a commodity for social media technology giants, the future of professional journalism in educating public opinion while challenging authority and power is increasingly under attack.

For media outlets, defamation cases and crippling costs are on the rise. By contrast, commentary online and in social media from non-experts is flourishing without the corresponding checks and balances.

How do we deal with the 19th century defamation legacy as well as facing the challenges of public debate in the 21st? How do we balance freedom of expression with the need for responsibility and accountability?

In this latest Behind the Headlines talk, our panellists will examine the changing media landscape of freedom of speech, defamation and the search for truth in traditional media and online.

Professor Todd Gitlin, Columbia Journalism School, Columbia University
Dearbhail McDonald, Independent News and Media Group Business Editor
Professor Eoin O’Dell, School of Law, Trinity College Dublin
Andrea Martin, media lawyer and speaker, MediaLawyer Solicitors

This discussion is part of the ‘Fears, Factions and Fake News’ symposium held in conjunction with Columbia University and in partnership with Independent News and Media.

Register here for tickets

Campus Location: Edmund Burke Theatre

Politics of the Present

Factions, Fears, and Fake News

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

A symposium organized by the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute, Trinity College Dublin, and the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University, New York) to explore the current political climate.

The growth of right-wing nationalism being witnessed on a global scale in both transitioning and established democracies is having an unprecedented impact on democratic values and institutions, recalling a dark time in Europe’s history.

This panel will explore the implications of the collapse of the centre left in a number of recent elections worldwide, the impact on Europe more widely, the dynamics driving this trend as well as measures to safeguard the rule of law and democratic principles central to a thriving democracy.

Moderator: Fintan O’Toole, Irish Times

'From Enoch Powell to Donald Trump: White Nationalism in the U.K. and U.S'
Dr Daniel Geary, School of Histories and Humanities, TCD -

Professor Juergen Barkhoff, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies, TCD

'Thinking with blinkers on: why social scientists hardly noticed the assault on checks and balances in Hungary and Poland!'
Dr Jacqueline Hayden, Department of Political Science, TCD

11:30 - 13:00 – POST TRUTH
In Jonathan Swift’s essay on ‘Political Lying’ he comments poignantly that ‘the greatest liar hath his believers, and it often happens that if a lie be believed only for an hour, it hath done its work, and there is no further occasion for it. Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale hath had its effect.’

In what has been deemed a post-truth era, it is not solely ‘political lying’ which is in question, but an entire machine of misinformation which is readily available and targeted at willing listeners. Debate has become increasingly polarised and expert comment has been rejected in place of opinion and personal belief. When propaganda caroms so easily around the world, how can non-experts learn to distinguish truth? This panel will look at the factors which led us to this point and consider what lies ahead for the future of facts.

Moderator: Stephen Rae, Editor in Chief, Independent News and Media Group

'“. . . believe me”: Post Truth, My Truth'
Professor Joseph Slaughter, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

'Will Post-truth set us free?'
Dr Fáinche Ryan, School of Religions, Peace Studies and Theology, TCD -

'The ongoing struggle for Enlightenment against its enemies'
Professor Todd Gitlin, School of Journalism, Columbia University

Professor Darryl Jones, School of English, TCD

14:00 - 15:30 – MIGRATION IN CRISIS
In Europe and the U.S today, immigration continues to cause division in public debates around globalisation, security, labour, war, and economics. Immigration is understood to have impacted on the outcome of the Brexit referendum and was a key debating point during the Trump-Clinton 2016 Presidential election and numerous European elections which have taken place since.

This discussion on migration in crisis will bring different disciplinary perspectives from history to human rights, and linguistics to peace studies on ways that communities think about and respond to the arrival of migrants.

Moderator: David Rieff, author, journalist and policy analyst

'The Roots of the Immigration Debate in the United States'
Dr Hidetaka Hirota, visiting scholar to the Heyman Center for the Humanities & Substitute Assistant Professor of History, The City University of New York-City College

'Every country in the world is represented on my bus”: Attitudes to Europe’s new multilingualism'
Professor Lorna Carson, School of Linguistics, Speech and Communication Sciences, TCD

'In 'crisis'-refugee protection and its rights based narrative'
Professor Rosemary Byrne, School of Law, TCD

'From securitizing to peacebuilding - alternative responses to the crisis for migrants in Europe'
Professor Gillian Wylie, School of Religions, Peace Studies and Theology, TCD

Registration is free but Required- Register here

Campus Location: Trinity Long Room Hub

  • Speaker Todd Gitlin Professor & Chair, Ph.D. Program Columbia School of Journalism
  • Speaker Dearbhail McDonald Independent News and Media Group Business Editor
  • Speaker Eoin O’Dell Associate Professor, Law Trinity College Dublin
  • Speaker Andrea Martin Media lawyer and speaker MediaLawyer Solicitors
  • Moderator Fintan O'Toole Author and Literary Editor The Irish Times
  • Speaker Daniel Geary Mark Pigott Associate Professor in American History Trinity College Dublin
  • Speaker Jürgen Barkhoff Professor of German Trinity College Dublin
  • Speaker Jacqueline Hayden Assistant Professor, Political Science Trinity College Dublin
  • Moderator Stephen Rae Editor in Chief Independent News and Media Group
  • Speaker Joey Slaughter Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature Columbia University
  • Speaker Fáinche Ryan Director Loyola Institute/Assistant Professor in Systematic Theology Trinity College Dublin
  • Speaker Darryl Jones Professor, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Trinity College Dublin
  • Moderator David Rieff Author, journalist and policy analyst
  • Speaker Hidetaka Hirota Visiting Assistant Professor The City College of New York
  • Speaker Lorna Carson Associate Professor in Applied Linguistics Trinity College Dublin
  • Speaker Rosemary Byrne Associate Professor in International Law Trinity College Dublin
  • Speaker Gillian Wylie Assistant Professor, International Peace Studies Trinity College Dublin