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First Church Reads: "Can We Save our Democracy?"

Can we Save Our Democracy? Two contemporary book reviews by Chuck Ramsey

by Chuck Ramsey on June 30, 2021

"First Church Reads" is a feature section of the Steeple where staff members or members of the church are invited to offer book and formation recommendations that specifically help deepen spiritual life. Please email Jake if you would like to write a resource or book recommendation. 

Can we Save Our Democracy? Two contemporary book reviews by Chuck Ramsey
In his latest book, “Due Diligence and the News”, Stanley Flink asks four simple questions:
1.  How can the media restore the trust of the reading/listening public?
2.  Is it ever possible for the news media to create mechanisms, like the Hutchins Commission, that can make workable rules of self-governance and professional standards for itself?
3.  Can government—international, national, state or local—serve as a watchdog on the media without violating the Constitution?
4.  Can the news media, assuming it is truthful, do less than full due diligence in commenting on a public official?
In his latest book, “Last Best Hope”, George Packer focuses on four narratives that now dominate American Life: “Free America” (essentially libertarian), “Real America” (personified by Sarah Palin), “Smart America” (the professional class) and “Just America” (identify politics).
Both authors explore fully, how we got here (remember “Alternate Facts”?) and what possible solutions there are to the present conundrum of biased journalism.
I would like to report that both authors come to workable solutions for getting America back together again but, in reality, both show us how we got from Alexis de Tocqueville’s “the art” of self-government and both are “searching for a moral compass in the digital age” (to quote Stan Flink). Both books will help you to understand the future of the press in this digital age.

-Chuck Ramsey, Stewardship Board and First Church member 

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