When Lisa Ling, executive producer and host of “This Is Life” on CNN, travels the world she takes off her “American-style glasses.”
“It’s hard to not go into experiences without having preconceived ideas,” said Ling. “Contrary to how a lot of Americans think, the ‘American way’ is not always the best way.”
Ling covered a broad selection of topics in an on-stage interview organized by UVUSA as a part of their Academic Senate Speaker Series Feb. 2. The hour-long interview between her and student media coordinator, Vegor Pedersen, included her thoughts on the current war on the press, the need for substantive journalism, as well as the rise in fake news.
Talking to a large audience in the Grande Ballroom, Ling expressed her frustration at the recent discrediting of some major news outlets and advised being cautious about checking news sources.
“I have taken offense, however, to people who accuse some major news outlets of propagating fake news,” said Ling. “I do know that while they may disagree with some of the things the news shows espouse, your larger, more established outlets do take pains to check their sources before they actually report.”
Ling went on to reveal major concerns about the risk fake news could pose to global security.
“It’s not out of the realm of possibility that, given this tense climate … an actual war could be ignited based on something that is fictitious,” she said.
Ling talked about how social media in particular has given rise to fake news.
“I think social media has made it worse,” said Ling. “It’s too easy to just post something or to retweet something without really taking time to consider whether your sources or whether your information is legitimate enough.”
According to Ling, her show explores issues in the U.S. and allows people to tell their stories.
“I take this job really seriously because we are one show that will not exploit the people that we spend time with, that is something that is very, very important to me,” said Ling.
Erick Castro, a sophomore aviation science major who attended the event, praised Ling.
“She wants to connect with other humans, she wants to listen to their problems, listen to their stories,” said Castro.
Ling shared some of her thoughts about UVU and Utah.
“You are really lucky to be able to go to this university. I’m so impressed by the exchanges I’ve had with students and the kinds of things that are available to students here, it’s really a place unlike any that I’ve visited in terms of universities. I really appreciate how challenging an environment it is, Ling said.”
In 2014, she spotlighted the LDS church and prescription painkiller abuse in Utah on her show.
“I could probably make a career out of reporting in Utah,” said Ling. “I’ve had some very powerful experiences here.”