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Plain Talk: Studying misinformation, and a homophobic attack from a state lawmaker

Listen to this episode of Plain Talk below, or subscribe on your favorite podcasting service.



Fake news.

These are terms we hear a lot in America in 2021, but what do they mean? How do they happen?


Dr. Dan Pemstein is an associate professor of political science at North Dakota State University . He joined this episode of Plain Talk to talk about his research into online misinformation both here in America and across the globe.

Also, state Rep. Rick Becker , a Republican from Bismarck, flew off the handle recently when asked about a quarter-million dollars in Paycheck Protection Program loans he took for his businesses, the bulk of which have reportedly been forgiven. Becker has refused to answer questions about those loans, choosing instead to engage in a borderline homophobic attack on me, the one asking the questions.

For the record, I don't consider being called gay to be an insult.

Apparently, Rep. Becker does.

Co-host Chad Oban and I discuss Becker and his reaction to reasonable questions about his participation, as an elected official, in a federal loan program. We also hit on U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, and his remarks about "grifters" in the conservative movement.

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Rob Port, founder of, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at .

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a columnist and podcast host for the Forum News Service. Reach him at
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