Category Archives: Media and Journalism

Congressional Gridlock and the Salience of Public Opinion

congress and prez cartoon largeLast fall, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation hosted a discussion exploring the (then) recent federal government shutdown and the ever-souring relationship between the President and Congress. The talk, part of the Ash Center’s Challenges to Democracy series, featured two renowned Harvard Kennedy School professors Thomas Patterson and David King. Patterson’s research explores the interaction between government and the media. King is a senior lecturer in Public Policy and chair of Harvard’s Bi-Partisan Program for Newly Elected Members of the U.S. Congress. Continue reading

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Filed under All Checks, No Balance, Expansion of Presidential Power, In the News, Media and Journalism, Political Polarization, Representation

Is Humanity the Most Important Ingredient in Public Dialogue?

thumbnailOn April 22, 2014, Harvard Kennedy School Professor Archon Fung moderated a discussion between Joan Blades, co-founder of MoveOn.org, and Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots. The event was sponsored by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation in collaboration with the John F. Kennedy, Jr. Forum. The conversation between Blades and Meckler, two groundbreaking and imaginative innovators who happen to fall on opposite ends of the political spectrum, was an extension of LivingRoomConversations.org, an effort started by Blades to promote respectful, open, and meaningful political conversations among people and across ideological divisions. The following blog post recounts the evening’s highlights. You can watch the entire conversation by clicking on the YouTube link below. Continue reading

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Filed under In the News, Media and Journalism, Political Polarization

A Revolution in Politics? Social Media in China, Egypt, and the U.S.

Ash Center faculty members Tony Saich, Tarek Masoud, and Archon Fung recently discussed the rise of social media and its impact on government and social movements with students, alumni, and supporters of Harvard Kennedy School. This post was originally published on the Harvard Kennedy School website.

 

By Maisie O’Brien
From tweeting a positive comment about a presidential candidate to liking the Facebook page of a local nonprofit, citizens are constantly using social media in civic-minded ways. But can this new form of communication substantively improve government or transform it entirely? Continue reading

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Filed under Frontiers of Research, In the News, Media and Journalism, Participation, Technology

In the News: Burlington, VT Builds a Digital Commons

In response to a recent Knight News Challenge titled How can we strengthen the Internet for free expression and innovation?, Bradley Holt profiles a new effort in Burlington, VT funded by the Knight Foundation that leverages the city’s fiber-optic gigabit network to build a new virtual public space for “innovative community organizers, nonprofits and civic hackers.” Continue reading

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Filed under Cities, In the News, Media and Journalism, Participation, Technology

Donald Rumsfeld as Performance Artist: A Conversation with Errol Morris

On February 26, 2014, the Ash Center hosted a screening of the new film The Unknown Known, followed by a spirited conversation with the filmmaker Errol Morris as part of its Challenges to Democracy public dialogue series. After the screening, Morris took questions from an engaged audience in a large classroom on the Harvard Kennedy School campus. Moderated by Archon Fung, the conversation shifted between the making of Morris’ film, his impressions of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (the subject of the film), and dimensions of executive power. Below are three excerpts from the discussion. Continue reading

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Filed under Expansion of Presidential Power, In the News, Media and Journalism

In the News: Millennials Are Down on Government

Emma Roller reports for National Journal on two surveys that reflect a shift toward the middle and a waning trust in government among Millennials.

Millennials have long been the carbuncle on the GOP’s backside, but these studies suggest some ways that Republicans can make inroads with younger voters. Twentysomethings today are less ideologically “pure” than older voters, and therefore more likely to be swayed to one side or another. Continue reading

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Filed under In the News, Media and Journalism, Political Polarization, Representation

In the News: What’s Gone Wrong with Democracy?

Check out this in-depth essay from The Economist on democracy across the globe. “Democracy was the most successful political idea of the 20th century,” they write. “Why has it run into trouble, and what can be done to revive it?” Below are a few excerpts. Continue reading

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Filed under Cities, Corruption, Future of Social Movements, In the News, Inequality vs Democracy, Media and Journalism, Participation, Political Polarization, Representation, Technology

The Unknown Known: Film Screening and Discussion Featuring Director Errol Morris

Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol Morris to speak at Harvard Kennedy School on February 26, 2014 after a screening of his new documentary film The Unknown Known.

 

One of the challenges in the Ash Center’s Challenges to Democracy public dialogue series is the expansion of presidential power and the potential threats it poses to our democracy’s compact between the chief executive, Congress, the courts, and the people. Continue reading

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In the News: Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index

Transparency International recently released its 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index.  Each year the Index measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in 177 countries and territories. This year’s report confirms that corruption remains a global threat. Continue reading

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Filed under Corruption, In the News, Media and Journalism, Representation, Technology

Robert McChesney and John Nichols Want You to Help Break Apart the Media-Money-Elections Complex

Highlights from a discussion of their new book Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex Is Destroying America at the Ash Center on October 1, 2013.

 

By Tim Glynn-Burke

In 1888, the time of America’s Industrial Revolution and Gilded Age, President Rutherford B. Hayes said “This is a government of the people, by the people and for the people no longer. It is a government of corporations, by corporations and for corporations.” Some 80 years later the tide appeared to have turned. Continue reading

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Filed under Dollarocracy, Inequality vs Democracy, Media and Journalism, Representation

Video: Watch November 6 Discussion on the Sources of Congressional Gridlock

Coming close on the heels of the recent federal government shutdown and narrowly avoided default, on November 6 the Ash Center welcomed Harvard Kennedy School professors Thomas Patterson and David King in a discussion on partisanship and gridlock in Congress. Continue reading

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Filed under All Checks, No Balance, Media and Journalism, Political Polarization, Representation

In the News: The Snowden Leaks and the Public

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger contributes an interesting first-person perspective on the Snowden leaks to The New York Review of Books.

 

Lacking confidence in the courts or Congress, Snowden approached the other people who, in any modern democracy, are there to uncover truth, host debates, and hold people to account—journalists. When Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers just over forty years ago he or his representatives went to The Washington Post and The New York Times. These days whistleblowers are spoiled for choice. Continue reading

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Filed under Expansion of Presidential Power, In the News, Media and Journalism, Technology

In the News: Harvard’s Thomas Patterson Takes The Media To Task

Carol Iaciofano reviews Tom Patterson’s latest book Informing the News: The Need for Knowledge-Based Journalism for WBUR’s The Artery:

It’s no accident that “Informing the News” is framed around a set of problems; it sets forth a convincing case that Americans are currently “ill-served by the intermediaries — the journalists, …talk show hosts, pundits, and bloggers — that claim to be their trusted guides.” In short, “Information corruption is deeply rooted in contemporary America.” Continue reading

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Filed under All Checks, No Balance, In the News, Media and Journalism, Technology