Home LifeStyle In an era rife with misinformation, MSNBC anchor Katy Tur uses her platform, ‘Katy Tur Reports,’ to spread truth.

In an era rife with misinformation, MSNBC anchor Katy Tur uses her platform, ‘Katy Tur Reports,’ to spread truth.

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In an era rife with misinformation, the MSNBC anchor uses her platform to spread truth.

Today, she anchors her own hour-long daily news show on MSNBC, but when Katy Tur was growing up, her career goals included doctor or lawyer, not journalist. “My mom and dad were helicopter journalists”—they captured the famous footage of the O.J. Simpson slow-speed chase—“and I found it more than anything to be annoying,” says Tur. “No one else’s parents had a helicopter…I was a dumb kid, so I found it to be mortifying.” 

In an era rife with misinformation, MSNBC anchor Katy Tur uses her platform, 'Katy Tur Reports,' to spread truth.

Eventually, though, Tur realized that the desire to “be on the front lines of cultural change” must be in her DNA. And on the front lines is where she’s been ever since, chasing tornadoes for The Weather Channel and covering the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 as a foreign correspondent, before spending 2015 and 2016 criss-crossing the country on the campaign trail with Donald Trump. 

The field of journalism has undergone a seismic shift since her parents’ heyday, however, a result, in large part, of that particular news cycle eight years ago. Accusations of “fake news,” TikTok “experts,” and viral conspiracy theories are just a few of the challenges reporters like Tur are up against.

“People who may have felt frustrated with the news in the past could really express it [post-Trump], and it ballooned,” says Tur, who was, at times, personally targeted by Trump and his supporters during rallies. “It makes the job really difficult in a time when it's more necessary than ever to get the truth out. It's not just people who are deciding that you're fake news; it's bad actors and foreign actors who are trying to meddle in our affairs.” 

In an era rife with misinformation, MSNBC anchor Katy Tur uses her platform, 'Katy Tur Reports,' to spread truth.

These issues have coalesced to bring trust in media to a scary low. According to a Gallup poll from last fall, only 7 percent of Americans trust newspapers, TV, and radio “a great deal;” 38 percent don’t trust it at all.

Tur is unfazed by the numbers. “You have to try to reach them where they are,” she says. “That's the changing media landscape that we have. The world is evolving, the way people consume information is evolving.” Each day, Tur records news videos for MSNBC’s social media accounts, including TikTok and YouTube; views on both platforms have more than doubled year-over-year, according to Nielsen data provided by NBC Universal.

Tur is optimistic about her current and future audiences. “Generation Z and Generation Alpha have an innate skepticism of what they see online. It seems like they're not automatically believing it any longer.” Tur points to her own teenage stepson as an example, noting that a few years ago he needed help discerning fact from fiction in the information he found online. “He’s so smart and so savvy and so much more critical in what he views now…When you grow up with something, you start to see its contours,” she says.

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Tur tries to avoid being swept up in the noise of social media herself—“I think it's probably problematic to have a foreign government controlling an information space,” she says of TikTok—but in an age when anyone with a smartphone and an opinion can go viral, she will step in. “You try to get to the bottom of whatever it is and try to say, ‘You might be seeing this online. Here's the story behind it. Here's where maybe it was deceptively edited.’ Or, ‘They're taking three-fourths of the story and they've left out this important context from the beginning.’" 

In an era rife with misinformation, MSNBC anchor Katy Tur uses her platform, 'Katy Tur Reports,' to spread truth.

Still, she admits that there’s only so much that professional journalists can do to fight the misinformation epidemic our culture is in the midst of. “Congress has to step in, and they have to regulate. There hasn’t been any regulation on social media, no regulation on the internet since the internet’s inception,” Tur explains. “And there’s so much misinformation and disinformation that’s out there, and it’s only going to get worse with AI.” As an example, Tur names the recent widespread issue of middle and high schoolers creating deep fake porn of their classmates.

Schools can, hopefully, be part of the solution, too—especially as this year’s presidential election ramps up. “[An educated electorate] is the most important thing in the world. I wish we taught civics, like really taught civics,” Tur says emphatically. “I think people need to understand the function of government, separation of powers, what a thriving democracy needs, which is a free and fair press.”

For her part, Tur does what she can to educate her own audience—without influencing them, a key difference between traditional news reporters and the content creators that can often drive the narrative. “When you're a journalist, not everyone's gonna love you. And it's not your job to be loved. It's uncomfortable. And, of course, everyone wants to be liked. And I really want people to watch the show.”

She continues: “But I want them to walk away thinking that I've been fair and that I've informed them; given them enough information so that when they make decisions in their lives, they're doing so with the best foundation that they can have.”

Viewers can tune into Katy Tur Reports weekdays at 3 p.m. ET on MSNBC.

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