If Then

F*** News

The press has to cover “fake news.” That helps it take hold.

Listen to If Then by clicking the arrow on the audio player below, or get the show via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.

On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about what’s happening with the proposed $3.9 billion merger between Sinclair—the largest TV-station owner in the country, which also happens to have an overt tilt in favor of Donald Trump—and Tribune Media. Thanks to an unexpected announcement from the FCC last week, that merger may be doomed.


The hosts are also joined by Claire Wardle, the executive director of First Draft, a nonprofit news-literacy and fact-checking outfit based at Harvard University. Wardle works hands-on with journalists and newsrooms around the world to find and responsibly debunk disinformation. They talk to Wardle about what we should be concerned about as the midterm elections approach, and how false stories spread on social media to confuse readers, disenfranchise voters, or incite violence—even without Russian agents working behind the scenes.


Stories discussed on the show:


Don’t Close My Tabs

Twitter: Shane Goldmacher

The Atlantic: “Artificial Intelligence Shows Why Atheism Is Unpopular

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:

You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.