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Knight write that: With credible reporting and fake news competing for our attention through social media pipelines that do little to help us distinguish between the two, we need to redouble efforts to separate fact from fiction. Have a correction or comment about this article?
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Put the damn paper out: Why the newsroom is a bedrock of American democracy
Journal of International Affairs, Vol. Join Our Newsletter. You may unsubscribe at any time by clicking on the provided link on any marketing message. He is forcing a fight for the integrity of our system of self-rule, for our liberty. Around the world, anti-democratic leaders pursue two agendas before all else: undermine the free press and erode the independence of law enforcement and the judiciary.
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Trump has done both, using the reach and authority of his office to attempt to stifle unfavorable reporting as he attacks investigators, judges, and agencies who might also hold him accountable. If the federal justice system lacks sufficient independence to use its authority to discover potential crimes of the president or his associates, the chances of ensuring the accountability of the person we elect to that role are severely diminished.
Most importantly, the ability of ordinary Americans to hold their leaders accountable through political processes relies on the healthy functioning of these two sources of information, and is severely impaired by their absence.
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Rhetorical red lines alone will not prove a sufficient response to these challenges. Turning back attacks on the independence of the press and law enforcement will require Americans to work together across old divisions, coalescing around the defense of their most essential principles, norms, and institutions. And elected representatives in Congress can do more than talk.
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Pluralism, pragmatism, and decentralized invention may do better at stewarding democracy than a coherent philosophy of moral guardianship ever could. Agonism — taking a warlike stance in contexts that are not literally war — pervades our public and private discourse, leading us to approach issues and each other in an adversarial spirit.
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Pursuing the common good in a pluralist democracy is not possible without making compromises. Yet the spirit of compromise is in short supply in contemporary American politics. The permanent campaign has made compromise more difficult to achieve, as the uncompromising mindset suitable for campaigning has come to dominate the task of governing.
To begin to make compromise more feasible and the common good more attainable, we need to appreciate the distinctive value of compromise and recognize the misconceptions that stand in its way. A common mistake is to assume that compromise requires finding the common ground on which all can agree.
That undermines more realistic efforts to seek classic compromises, in which each party gains by sacrificing something valuable to the other, and together they serve the common good by improving upon the status quo. Institutional reforms are desirable, but they, too, cannot get off the ground without the support of leaders and citizens who learn how and when to adopt a compromising mindset.
However, in a complex modern society, it is far more challenging for individuals to define and agree upon what is the common good. Nonetheless, two contemporary roles would benefit from embracing a broader sense of the good: 1 membership in a profession; and 2 membership in a polity.
Drawing on findings from the GoodWork Project, I describe how the common good can become a guiding value in the professional and civic realms; discuss threats to such guiding values; and suggest some ways to promote the common good in contemporary American society. There is a famous paradox about democracy: most forms of participation make no obvious difference to political outcomes and yet people act anyway.
I argue that they are more likely to act politically if they have certain attitudes and commitments; and that productive attitudes of the right kind can be sustained by a culture in which two kinds of honor are central. One kind of honor is collective: it is the honor of nations, which is the concern of the patriot. Another is the honor of citizens, who are worthy of respect because they contribute to the practices that serve the republic. I suggest some practices we Americans might want to take up and honor for the sake of our own republic today, drawing attention to two discoveries in social psychology that could be productively brought to bear in our political life: namely, the Ben Franklin effect and the Contact Hypothesis.
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The Institutions of American Democracy: The Press
Authors Andrew A. Hill, Leonard Wong, and Stephen J. Author Kathleen Hall Jamieson.
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