On this week’s program we hear a panel discussion held in observation of Constitution Day (mid September) at Diablo Valley College, where Mickey teaches. Three expert panelists examined the state of the media, the threats posed by book-banning campaigns and cancel culture, as well as the societal changes underlying these trends. For some time, the United States has been on the road to what many scholars and pundits repeatedly refer to as a coming Civil War 2.0. Major political figures call the coming elections a “war for the soul of America.” With increased attacks on academic freedom from the left and right, and a massive uptick in book challenges and bans across the country, our panelists discuss the need for open dialogue, constructive communication, and advocate for protecting the right to teach, to read, and to disagree. Our guests present strategies to reduce tensions in our contentious political climate through critical thinking, as well as reciprocity and empathic listening, while seeking alternatives to censorship in the quest to overcome current challenges and ameliorate our differences.
Betsy Gomez is coordinator for the national Banned Books Week Coalition. Nico Perrino is Executive Vice-President at the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, formerly known as the Foundation for Individual Rights In Education. Nolan Higdon is a university lecturer in media studies and history. He’s also the author of The Anatomy of Fake News, Let’s Agree to Disagree, and other books on media and society.