UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Is American government broken?

“Is American Government Broken?” is the provocative question the Fall 2011 Center for Legislative Studies lectures series will address.

“We settled on this topic in the wake of the debt ceiling controversy that raged in Washington over the summer,” says Dr. David Holian (Political Science), director of the center. “We viewed that debate as the latest example of an increasing unwillingness to compromise and wanted to explore some reasons why we face this state of affairs.”

The series title comes from the tension between a political system that demands compromise and political actors who refuse to do so, he says.

The first lecture in the series will be “Polarization, Gridlock and the Mass Media” on Sept. 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the Weatherspoon Auditorium.

Among the speakers will be Dr. Kathy Smith (Wake Forest), co-author of “The White House Speaks: Presidential Leadership as Persuasion” and “The President and the Public: Rhetoric and National Leadership” and Dr. Geoffrey Baym (Media Studies), author of “From Cronkite to Colbert: The Evolution of Broadcast News.”

“The modern media environment is splintered to such an extent that it is fairly easy for many people to seek out political news and information that is likely to confirm their predispositions,” Holian explains. “Whereas the networks of the Cronkite era had a mainstreaming effect on society, we thought it would be worth asking whether today’s media environment encourages polarization and, therefore, gridlock.”

Addional lectures will be Oct. 19 in Weatherspoon Auditorium and Nov. 10 in the new School of Education Building.

Visual: President Obama meets with Congressional Leadership regarding debt limit, July 13, 2011. White House photo by Pete Souza.

By Mike Harris