Held Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Professor of Journalism and Sociology, and chair of the Ph.D. program in Communications, Columbia University
The presidential campaign of 2016 exhibits with unparalleled extremity destructive tendencies that are by no means new: widespread hostility toward educated elites; widespread denial of climate change; widespread ignorance in many other spheres. One of our major political parties, and not only the president-elect, is committed to unreason on several fronts. At the same time, journalism, which is democracy’s chief instrument of public knowledge, suffers financial distress, cognitive crisis, and ideological undermining. The university ought not to react defensively. It ought to enlarge its ambitions by sponsoring ambitious journalism as well as publishing for a general audience.