Skip to content Skip to navigation

Behind the Curtain Series: Fake News vs. History

Thursday, September 20, 2018 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Registration is required
Members Free and Non-members $15

Fake News vs. History

Alexander Heffner

PBS Open Mind host Alexander Heffner will discuss the tenth anniversary edition of his and Richard D. Heffner’s A Documentary History of the United States. A new chapter, “Populists Revolt…Democracy Under Duress,” explores the presidency of Donald Trump and ​the digital age through critical documents shaping contemporary America, including Presidential tweets, Congressional testimony on cyberwar, speeches by Bernie Sanders and Jeff Flake, and Facebook posts by Mark Zuckerberg. Heffner will consider how the current media and political climate are impacting the first draft of history, including the threat of clickbait, fake news, bots, trolls, and filter bubbles.

Alexander Heffner is the host of The Open Mind on PBS. He has covered American politics, civic life, and Millennials for leading newspapers and magazines. His work has been profiled in the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, and he has lectured at the Newseum, Post-Truth Initiative at University of Sydney, and Center for Information and Bubble Studies at University of Copenhagen. A native New Yorker, he is a graduate of Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and Harvard.

Heffner’s A Documentary History of the United States contains many primary documents that have forged American History. Amongst these documents is the first edition of William Lloyd Garrison’s The Liberator which The Boston Athenæum holds a complete run of in its special collections. In 1847 Brown moved with his family to Boston and established himself as a prominent abolitionist. His narrative contributed to the body of anti-slavery literature published in New England prior to the Civil War.


To register, follow the registration button on the right. If you would prefer your information to pre-populate, log in to your My Athenæum Profile. To log in to your My Athenæum Profile click on the profile icon found in the upper right corner of each page on our website.

If you do not yet have a profile, select “New User? Create an account” on the Profile Login page. Members create their own accounts; a username and password are not assigned when you join the Athenæum.


Assistive Listening Devices image

Most programs held in the Bayard Henry Long Room on the Athenaeum's first floor are amplified and assistive listening devices are available for patron use.

ASL Interpretation image

To request ASL interpretation services for any of the Athenaeum's programs, please contact Hannah Weisman at 617-720-7617 or