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Capital District Humanist Society

The Capital District Humanist Society provides a supportive community for exchanging ideas, heightening our knowledge of the world and ourselves, fostering moral and ethical growth, and promoting the principles of secular humanism.

CDHS is a member organization for individuals who share humanist values and who reside in the Capital District region of New York State and neighboring areas. Our values include commitment to free inquiry, rational thought, life-long education, democracy, social concern, and fellowship.

The Society provides various activities including monthly speakers, socials, book discussions, and a newsletter.

The Capital District Humanist Society presents:



Nancy Roberts & Thomas Palmer :

"Fake News"

Truth vs. Lies and the Challenge to Journalists

“Fake news” and   propaganda have a long history in the United States. Even Benjamin Franklin fabricated stories that Indians were aiding the British by murdering American colonists, as away to recruit more Patriots to the Revolutionary War effort. In 1844 when nativist anti-Catholic newspapers in Philadelphia falsely reported that Irish were stealing Bibles from public schools, riots ensued and Irish neighborhoods and Catholic churches were attacked. And don’t forget the yellow journalism of William Randolph Hearst in the 1890s, which helped goad the United States into the Spanish-American War. Today’s social media can greatly magnify such effects, as we saw in the 2016 presidential election when sophisticated presentation of propaganda on social media by the Russian government drove traffic to “fake news” websites. Not surprisingly, many believe that “fake news” is the biggest threat to democracy today, because it threatens the accuracy of the information that citizens must have if they are to make informed decisions at the polls. This presentation identifies the challenges posed by “fake news,” emphasizing how to recognize it and what to do about it. We’ll start with a brief overview of its history, then discuss current examples of “fake news,” leaving plenty of time for questions.

Nancy Roberts and Thomas Palmer have been teaching college students, journalists, and community members about the perils of “fake news” for many years. Both teach in the University at Albany’s Journalism Program. which Roberts directs within the Department of Communication. Her professional research interests include the history of journalism and communication, media ethics, and literary journalism. Palmer has over three decades of experience in news editing, photojournalism, picture editing, and design directing in the news industry. 

Sunday, November 12th, 2017


  • Refreshments 12:30; Program 1:15 p.m.
  • Room 224, Campus Center, Sage Colleges Albany Campus
  • New Scotland Ave. at Academy Road, Albany
  • Admission: Free.

  • The Public is Cordially Invited to Attend!

Presented by The Capital District Humanist Society

Details and directions: 518.533.2666, or our directions page

Monthly meetings

CDHS meets on the second Sunday of each month in Room 224 of the Campus Center at the Albany campus of the Sage Colleges, at New Scotland Avenue and Academy Road.

We gather at 12:30 pm. Program starts at 1:15. Light refreshments are provided.

Click here for directions.

Click here for the upcoming meeting.


Other Activities

In addition to monthly speaker presentations, we hold monthly social events, and sponsor a reading group, and a discussion group.


CDHS is affiliated with the three major humanist organizations:



Members and subscribers receive our publication, The Humanist Monthly. If you are interested in more information about CDHS, give us your name and email address, and we will send a sample copy or two with no obligation.

Contact us for further information at: webmaster (at) humanistsociety (dot) org

Send website comments to: webmaster (at) humanistsociety (dot) org