A group of six Penn State professors from diverse backgrounds held a teach-in Monday, analyzing the phenomenon of fake news on democracy. 

The panel of concerned professors said today’s growing digital culture makes it easier to consume sources of misinformation and harder to find the truth. 

More than 80 people attended the teach-in to hear input from professors with media backgrounds, as well as one in psychology and atmospheric science to learn how the idea of fake news makes it difficult to tell the truth. 

Michael Mann, a distinguished professor of atmospheric science, said the idea of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ is problematic. 

“There’s so much noise today in the form of misinformation and fake news that it’s hard to have the truly meaningful discussions we need to have about the real problems we face,” Mann said. 

The panel said the idea of fake news is nothing new; sharing misinformation has been going on for decades.