From Bad News to Fake News: Media & Conflict 1850-2017 | Mechanics' Institute

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From Bad News to Fake News: Media & Conflict 1850-2017
A four-part serial with Myles Dungan, part of the Monday Noontime History Series.

Monday, July 22, 2024 - 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm

An exploration of the relationship between political journalism and establishment interests from the mid nineteenth century to the present day as newspapers, and later electronic media, struggle to hold "truth to power."

This four-part serial, presented by Myles Dungan, is featured as part of the Monday Noontime History Series at Mechanics' Institute and meets on Mondays from July 15 to August 5 in the 4th Floor Board Room.

Serial Schedule and Content

July 15 | Photojournalism - from the US Civil War to Vietnam

From Matthew Brady to Tim Page, via Martha Gellhorn and Robert Capa.

July 22 | The Golden Age of Investigative Journalism: Murrow to Iran-Contra

Edward R. Murrow challenges the excesses of Senator Joseph McCarthy, the Washington Post exposes the Watergate scandal and the New York Times reveals the extent of Reagan’s frolic in Nicaragua.

July 29 | The Bronze Age: Film documentary, The Boston Globe and Phone Hacking

The campaigning work of filmmakers like Michael Moore (Bowling for Columbine), Charles Ferguson (Inside Job), and Errol Morris (The Fog of War), the Boston Globe uncovers the extent of clerical sex abuse in the Roman Catholic archdiocese, and how Guardian journalist Nick Davies exposed the British phone hacking scandal and brought down the News of the World.

August 5 | The Retreat: Fake News Incarnate

The rise of misinformation and misdirection, the impracticality of investigative journalism in a Google/Facebook world, and the impossibility of identifying the truth in a maze of bots and AI.

About the Presenter

Myles Dungan is an Irish historian, broadcaster, and occasional writer of fiction. He has written on subjects as far apart as the American West and the House of Commons, and as closely connected as serial killing and professional golf. He has won absolutely no awards whatsoever for writing, as far as he can remember—his memory isn't great—but he is embarrassed to admit that he does have a few for broadcasting. Relax, you don't need to know. He presents The History Show on Irish national radio (RTÉ Radio 1) and is Programme Director of the Hinterland Book Festival ( One position is paid and one isn't. Guess which is which. He has no previous convictions.



Cancellation Policy

We reserve the right to cancel at any time and issue a full refund. If you are unable to attend this seminar, please email [email protected] by Friday, July 19, 2024, to receive a full refund less any non-refundable ticketing fees which may be applicable. All fees must be paid at the time of registration. After Friday, July 19, 2024, no refunds will be issued.

Questions? Please contact [email protected].


Members Free
Non-Members $10 for each session
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4th Floor Board Room
Nico Chen - 415-393-0103
Register now by using the form below or calling .


Future Classes

Jul 29 - 12:00 pm

From Bad News to Fake News: Media & Conflict 1850-2017
A four-part serial with Myles Dungan, part of the Monday Noontime History Series.

Aug 28 - 6:15 pm

Storytelling and Improvisation Workshop with Corey Rosen
We'll be kicking off our 2024-2025 Storytelling Showcase season with this workshop with Corey Rosen, author and host of "The Moth."