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Richard Posner Article Examines Media and Deliberative Democracy

In a recent New York Times article that riffs off Jon Stewart’s (The Daily Show) stunning appearance on CNN’s “Crossfire” earlier this year (in which he said shows like Crossfire are “hurting America”), Richard Posner tackles the question of whether the media really is destroying America and the prospects for deliberative democracy. “Journalists,” Posner writes, “are reluctant to confess to pandering to their customers’ biases; it challenges their self-image as servants of the general interest, unsullied by commerce. They want to think they inform the public, rather than just satisfying a consumer demand no more elevated or consequential than the demand for cosmetic surgery in Brazil or bullfights in Spain. They believe in ”deliberative democracy” – democracy as the system in which the people determine policy through deliberation on the issues.” Deliberation naturally turns on a public that wishes to be informed and does so. But, writes Posner, “The public’s interest in factual accuracy is less an interest in truth than a delight in the unmasking of the opposition’s errors.” For the full article, visit www.nytimes.com. Thanks to the Deliberative Democracy Consortium for bringing this to our attention!

Amy Lang
Amy Lang is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at the University of British Columbia. She wrote her dissertation on British Columbia’s groundbreaking Citizens’ Assembly process, and is currently doing follow-up research on the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly.

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