#183 Our Many Perception Gaps: Sam Laine Perfas

What you think is true doesn't necessarily line up with reality. From the heated debate over gun violence deaths to our views about violent crime and global poverty, many of us have serious perception gaps. 

Democracy can be damaged when public opinion is out-of-step with the facts.

The opioid epidemic is often in the headlines and was recently declared a public health emergency. But did you know there's another substance that kills far more people every year? Another example: massacres at schools, malls and other public places get massive media coverage, but they account for a tiny percentage of gun deaths.

Our guest in this episode is Samantha Laine Perfas, host of the new podcast series, "Perception Gaps". She tells us "there are things we perceive to be true that are simply not. And challenging us to think about these misperceptions... begins to peel back the layers of why we believe what we believe."

We hear fascinating and deeply personal stories from several recent guests on "Perception Gaps," including addiction expert and former federal drug czar Michael BotticelliCaptain Perri Johnson, Commander of the Juvenile Division at the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, and Professor Jennifer Stuber of the University of Washington School of Social Work, who studies suicide prevention and mental health. 

#173 Fighting Back Against Fake News: Steven Brill

recent poll finds that two-thirds of Americans often get news from social media. But many consumers are highly skeptical of the information they see on Facebook and other sites, expecting it to be "largely inaccurate."

Now a new company, Newsguard, uses journalism to fight the epidemic of false stories, misinformation and outright propaganda, helping readers to navigate through online news sites. Newsguard's web browser extension rates websites that appear in searches on their reliability. The easy-to-use plug-in includes a red-green symbol that shows if a site is trying to get it right or instead has a hidden agenda.

"We apply common sense to a problem that algorithms haven't been able to resolve," says Newguard's co-CEO, Steven Brill. During an extraordinary career as a journalist, author and business executive, Steven was founder of Court TV, The American Lawyer Magazine, Brill's Content Magazine, and The Yale Journalism Initiative

Now, his latest passion is fighting fake news.

Newsguard provides "nutrition label" write-ups for news and information websites in the U.S. and plans to expand globally. Employing scores of journalists and analysts, the growing venture also identifies suddenly trending fake news sites and warns internet users about them in real time.

More information here.