Alterman: U.S. democracy obstructs progressive change

March 29, 2011 — The problematic American democratic system is the subject of a new book by Eric Alterman, Kabuki Democracy: The System vs. Barack Obama. Alterman, Distinguished Professor of English and Journalism at Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate School of…

Restoring Comity to Congress

Charles Gibson Shorenstein Center Reidy Fellow, Fall 2010 Former anchor, ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson Read the full paper (PDF). Excerpt It should not be surprising that long-time members of Congress talk nostalgically about “the old days” when friendships…

Ants at the Picnic: A Status Report on News Coverage of State Government

Gene Gibbons Shorenstein Center Goldsmith Fellow, Spring 2010 Former Executive Editor, Stateline.org Read the full paper (PDF). Excerpt Introduction I borrowed a wonderful quote from Ross Ramsey, managing editor of The Texas Tribune, for the title of this discussion paper….

Would You Ask Turkeys to Mandate Thanksgiving? The Dismal Politics of Legislative Transparency

J.H. Snider, spring 2008 fellow, discusses problems with government transparency, and the feasibility of potential solutions in two papers. Paper #1: The Dismal Politics of Legislative Transparency The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prevents legislators from infringing on the…

Orwell Meets Nixon: When and Why “The Press” Became “The Media”

A paper by Martin F. Nolan, fall 2004 fellow, explores President Nixon’s antagonistic relationship with the press. He argues that Nixon sought to disarm his critics by changing “the press,” a Constitutionally protected form of expression, into “the media,” a…

Covering the CIA in Times of Crisis: Obstacles and Strategies

A paper by Ted Gup, fall 2003 fellow, examines how the U.S. press fared in covering the intelligence community before and after two catastrophic intelligence failures—9/11 and the yet-to-be-found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It also explores the obstacles…

Rainbow’s End: Public Support for Democracy in the New South Africa

A paper by Richard Morin, fall 1999 fellow, considers South Africans’ sense of optimism and uncertainty regarding future democratic progress. Do they expect the transformation brought about by Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu to continue, or to pass into…

Two Commanders-in-Chief: Free Expression’s Most Severe Test

A paper by Betty Houchin Winfield, spring 1991 fellow, examines free speech and press freedom in the U.S. during wartime. If wartime governments are more autocratic, writes Winfield, then it is assumed that presidents will take a more authoritative stance…

The Nixon Memo

This paper by Marvin Kalb, Edward R. Murrow Professor of Practice Emeritus, was first presented as the keynote address at the Shorenstein Center’s fifth anniversary celebration. He discussed President Nixon’s complicated relationship with the press, focusing on a memo Nixon…