Healing the Hate: Civil Discourse in the age of online mobs and viral videos

Healing the Hate: Civil Discourse in the age of online mobs and viral videos


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Healing the Hate – Civil Discourse in the Age of Online Mobs and Viral Videos seeks to create a much needed dialogue about changing the toxic culture in social media and news coverage.  Starting with an examination of their documentary film Rush to Judgement, filmmakers Steve Oldfield and Ryan Anderson begin the discussion with an inside look at a case study that grabbed the attention of the world. In January, 2019, boys from Covington Catholic High School came face-to-face with adult protesters on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  The viral video brought death threats and social media hate posts directed at teenagers from the school and ultimately ended with multi-million dollar lawsuits against some of the pillars of American Media.  What can you, as a media consumer, and journalists learn from this case and what does it tell us about the current divide in American Politics?  

The multi-media lecture examines these and other important issues concerning viral content mashing up with social media and the news.


Director Steve Oldfield (and for an additional fee Producer Ryan Anderson) will engage your audience with a multi-media experience that includes never-before-seen interviews and footage, along with sharing expert analysis from leaders in Political Journalism.
Steve  will also share his motivations for creating this documentary and what he uncovered and learned along the way.
Steve will create a dialogue that leaves your audience with a better understanding of the event and coverage that created a viral firestorm. The discussion will help students to become better content creators and consumers, while fostering a more inclusive and less judgmental discourse online.

Steve & Ryan are award-winning documentary filmmakers and educators and are committed to helping students, consumers, journalists, and content producers learn from the encounter at the Lincoln Memorial and the social media posts and news stories that came from the viral video. Their goal is to help prevent future cases of media mayhem & hate.

Steve Oldfield also directed the award-winning documentaries Lines of Sight and Covington at 200: Points of View.   He graduated from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and the Institute on Political Journalism. Steve is currently an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Communication at Thomas More University.

Ryan Anderson brings his extensive knowledge of blogging, political commentary and independent media to Rush to Judgment.  He also has worked in cable television, producing and hosting an interview program aimed at teenagers and young adults.

Newspaper article


Virtual review:

It went well! My office was on pins and needles the whole time but we feel good about how it went. We actually had more people attend than we expected so it was an all around win. Thank you again for all of your help in this. We really do appreciate it.


Erica T., Campus Life Student Activities
St. Louis Community College-Meramec

I thought that it went REALLY well. This is some of the most engagement I have seen for a virtual event. Thank you both very much!

Steve B. Director, Student Life, Ivy Tech

Through skillful interviews and expanded film clips, Steve Oldfield not only reveals the true story of what happened to Nick Sandmann and his friends at the Lincoln Memorial that day, but develops the story suspensefully in the film, guiding us through the growing realization that journalists and community leaders got it wrong. Rush to Judgment is a powerful indictment of social media, instant journalism and the rush to grab a scoop.

Jo Ann S. Founding Director, Anthem Film Festival


I appreciate what Steve and Ryan did in their program in terms of humanizing those behind such a controversial incident as that at the Covington Lincoln Memorial. I think that this documentary should be shown at universities across the country, especially those with particular political leanings and who specialize in media. 

Covering multiple angles is important rather than sticking to the media herd’s angle of a story. Also, I’ve learned to remember that subjects of stories are human, and to treat them as such, even if it appears that I disagree with them ideologically, philosophically, etc.

Whatever side of the aisle you find yourself on, Rush to Judgment is a remarkable and important documentary and presents a case study about the broken state of journalism and the volatile state of the national debate (Newsflash, no one debates anymore). One of the tenets from my old college critical thinking classes urged me to “rigorously question ideas and assumptions rather than accepting them at face value.”

Film Review from Film Threat


It would make an excellent case study for journalism schools.

Sharon F, Librarian, St. Louis Community College.


Category : Election/politics &Film and Director &Media and History &Politics &Social Justice &Speakers &Technology/Social Media

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