FROM Bill Bishop
Separating Fact and Fiction: Truth and Lies in American Politics Today Nobody should be surprised when politicians distort the facts or tell outright lies. In 2007, the St. Petersburg Times introduced a feature called PolitiFact . It's complete with a "Truth-O-Meter," and a range from "True" through "Mostly True" to "Mostly False," "False" and finally, "Pants on Fire." PolitiFact joined the Annenberg Public Policy Center's FactCheck.org . The Washington Post now has a regular feature called The Fact Checker . While such checkers promise to give voters the truth, they themselves are critiqued from the Right and the Left, accused of choosing the facts they check according to hidden agendas. Does one side lie more than the other? Do the media add to the confusion by trying to find "balance" between the two or are "facts" really what voters want to know? If so, why do they sometimes cling to beliefs in proven falsehoods?
Is Income Inequality a Threat to the Middle Class? One hundred years ago, in the era of Robber Barons, the richest 1% of Americans had 18% of the nation's income. The income tax, labor unions and the New Deal leveled things out but, since the 1970's, the income gap has been growing again and now it's wider than ever. Are the very rich just the top of a healthy middle class, or is the economy a zero-sum game with top earners refusing to let their wealth trickle down? We hear a debate that underlies the issues being raised in this year's midterm campaigns.
Tracking the Great Recession, Region by Region In Detroit, the median price of a home is now estimated at $7500, less than the lowest priced new car on the market. In Lehigh Acres, once a middle-class suburb of Miami, one out of every four people is now on food stamps. What's now being called the Great Recession comes hard on the heels of a massive boom in construction. Construction workers, mostly men without college degrees, are among those most likely to find themselves unemployed. Just as different sectors of the economy are hit to different degrees, so are different regions of the country. Wall Street's been hit hard by unemployment, but New York City is strong and diverse enough to rebuild. Other parts of the country may not be so lucky. We examine the impact of the recession in different regions and their different prospects for economic recovery.
Opposites Don't Attract: Presidential candidates appeal to the "working class" and "ordinary people" with the promise of unifying America for the "common good." But that turns out to mean different things in different places, and it's not just a matter of Red States versus Blue. Wealth and mobility have freed Americans to move wherever they want to and they end up with people just like themselves, culturally as well as politically. What might sound obvious turns out to be an index of major change over the past 30 years. Is segregation-by-lifestyle dividing cities and neighborhoods? Whatever happened to "class?" Is political unification possible any more?
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.
After Syria strike a new Trump doctrine emerges The President who promised an end to entanglements in the Middle East and snuggled up to Vladimir Putin has now outraged Russia with surprise missile attacks on Syria. That's raised questions about who's running the White House? We hear a variety of answers.
Border security and campaign promises President Trump has promised tightened borders and a big beautiful wall. Guest host Barbara Bogaev looks at two tent-poles of the President's immigration policy: extreme vetting of visa applicants and building the US-Mexico border wall.
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.