Transforming News: How Mediation Principles Can Depolarize Public Talk
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News media interviews bring opposing voices into the public forum where, ideally, audience members can deliberate and reach democratic compromise. But in today’s politically polarized atmosphere, partisans increasingly accuse each other of being a threat to the country, and prospects for compromise have suffered. Journalists have been urged to take a more affirmative role, promoting problem-solving and opposing conflict. They have stopped short, citing professional norms that demand a stance of neutral detachment. This Article turns to the principles of transformative mediation. Like journalism, it is detached from any goal of settlement. It aims instead at increasing the capacity of participants to clarify their views and respond with generosity to the views of opponents. This is a goal that journalism can embrace and the public forum can use. This Article draws on empirical research and offers practical suggestions, using recent news interviews to illustrate both problems and potential directions.
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