Mount panel examines news, politics

April 05, 2017

Mount alumni Brian Mahar, Walden mayor and director of communications for Sen. William J. Larkin, Jr. (center), said that one must be careful and critical when reading news online.


What news sources can be trusted? How does one start a conversation about politics? Why is it important to share different views?

These were just a few of the topics discussed at the recent “The Mount Speaks Out: Politics” panel at Mount Saint Mary College.

The panel consisted of Jonathan Jacobson, Orange County Democratic committee person and former party chair; Mount alumni Brian Mahar, Walden mayor and director of communications for Sen. William J. Larkin, Jr.; and Regina Pappalardo, assistant professor of communications at the Mount.

Pappalardo urged students to be cautious and informed news consumers.

“Just because someone is on a news show doesn’t mean that person has followed journalistic principles and ethics to present that information,” she said. “And just because a website looks legitimate does not mean it can be trusted. Check your sources before you post an article.”

Mahar agreed. He added that even if an article is shared by a family member or other trusted source, fact checking is still the responsibility of the reader.

“Just because an article has millions of hits does not mean it’s accurate or true,” he said.

Although taking about politics can sometimes be uncomfortable, it can help participants to form new ideas and find better solutions to problems, said Jacobson.

“There’s a difference between being negative and having a contrasting message,” he explained, noting that in a conversation about politics, it’s ok for the participants to have differing views and ideas. But one should always keep the discussion about the issues – not personal attacks.

The discussion was the second in the three part “The Mount Speaks Out” diversity roundtable series, which focuses on hard-hitting issues facing today’s college students. The third, scheduled for later this month, will examine race as it relates to the modern college student. In the first talk, held in February, Mount students and staff discussed their college experience as members of the LGBTQA+ community, recounting their personal challenges and successes.