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Support for democracy in the United States and Europe has declined over the past 20 years in almost every age group according to a recent study. In this hour, Stanford political scientist Larry Diamond joins Forum to talk about why democracy is increasingly under threat around the globe … and right here at home.

Guests:
Larry Diamond, senior fellow, Hoover Institution and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University

  • Paul

    Obama issued more executive orders than any other president before him and yet it is only when Trump comes to power, he being the populist, that the establishment people talk about creeping autocracy.
    Obama also attacked whistleblowers, as an autocrat would.
    It seems autocracy that benefits the oligarchy is a-ok.

    • jurgispilis

      Did Obama also invent the “executive action”? I never heard of executive actions before Obama.

      • Paul

        They were little used before. But for instance JFK signed an executive order 11110:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_11110

      • Robert Thomas

        It’s a phrase widely in use since the 1950s, to describe the C.I.A.’s operations against communist and socialist leaders and movements around the world – or just any inconvenient person. The Agency’s “Directorate for Plans” was lead by Richard Bissell and Richard Helms; known targets included Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala in 1954 after he introduced land reforms and nationalized the United Fruit Company; Patrice Lumumba of the Congo; dictator Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic; General Abd al-Karim Kassem of Iraq and Ngo Dinh Diem, the leader of South Vietnam. Their most fervent concern was Fidel Castro.

        It became a wildly common invocation in the 1970s and was even used as a film title: David Miller’s Executive Action, of 1973, written by Dalton Trumbo and Mark Lane and starring Burt Lancaster and Robert Ryan. The phrase was about as obscure as “tastes great; less filling”. Where were you?

      • kpwn

        never heard of executive actions before Obama.

        Conservative media began screaming about Executive Orders during Obama’s terms.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_order_%28United_States%29#History_and_use
        President Number issued[11] Starting with E.O. number[11]

        George Washington 8 n/a
        John Adams 1 n/a
        Thomas Jefferson 4 n/a

        It seems there are also similar Proclamations, Actions, etc.
        Some of these invite approval from Congress.
        Some are merely national holiday announcements.

    • Ben Rawner

      Trump and his cronies are oligarchs and just because he manipulated populist fervor doesn’t mean he is a populist.

  • EIDALM

    Uncontrollable and unregulated capitalism motivated by greed as it is is the case in the U S with the lobby system of the Wall Street, multinational corporations, and big money, all put an end to democracy as near all elections are very much decided by their choice and money rather than that in a free society.

  • Kurt thialfad

    Think of the great democracies of the world: the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Korea.
    All basically one party states.

  • ES Trader

    The nation for decades has shown visible signs of creeping dumbing down. It’s human nature to succumb to the temtations of pop culture, especially tv and today the plethora of targeted programming from Duck Dunasty to Kardashians and the sitcoms that cater to the lowest common denominator is overwhelming.

    Sid Caesar, when asked why “Your Show Of Shows” went off the air, his answer was “Lucy” and shows like it.

    Just the Hollywood box office hits, speak loudly to the declining appetite of intelligent entertainment that requires and stimulates thought;ditto for the fattening of America by fast food.

    So is it any wonder why populism, trumpism and creeping autocracy became an issue facing the country?

    The problem ranks way below the # 1 issue for ALL mankind regardless of religion, race or economic status, CLIMATE but its an annoying distraction that slows the address of the real danger.

    • Paul

      Populism, which the defense of self-interest against a corrupt entitled establishment, is the intelligent choice.
      Dumbing down is not just in the corporate media.
      The corporate water companies add fluoride, a toxic byproduct of aluminum manufacturing that harms brain development.
      The corporate food makers add glutamate & aspartate, both known excitotoxins, and sucrose, linked to Alzheimer’s.
      The corporate drug pushers push addictive pills to address symptoms, not causes.
      The corporate booze merchants glamorize alcohol, a brain toxin.
      And yet thought provoking shows like TED, Intelligence Squared, Joe Rogan, & Bill Maher thrive, often on Youtube.

  • Kevin Skipper

    Just like a pair of too-tight drawers.

  • Ben Rawner

    How much of this creeping autocracy has to do with the expansion of corporate powers and/or cleptocracies around the world? It seems that democratic governance slows the giant capitalist machine. Currently there are corporations or cartels that have more power than many governments. A good example is The current Sec of State, who was literally the CEO of one of the largest oil companies or the world. Democracy has regulated oil and now oil is striking back.

    • Teresita

      Yes, I wish I or someone had a chance to ask him about too much dirty unsustainable energy money in politics and “Citizens United” negative role in our democracy.

  • Noelle

    I can see why more Americans would lose faith in our democracy due to Congress passing laws for the benefit of their corporate contributors. ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) even writes the model bills for them to use(state legislators using these model bills as well).

  • William – SF

    My platitude panties are in a bunch… some questions:

    1) What did you do between your Assistant Professor of Sociology job at Vanderbilt in 1985 and your Senior Fellow position at the Hoover Institution in 2009? Your CV has lots of gaps, and does co-editing or editing actually produce a meaningful living?
    https://web.stanford.edu/~ldiamond/cv.html

    He traces many failed and failing democracies to bad governance, which disillusions publics and paves the way for authoritarian options.

    https://web.stanford.edu/~ldiamond/index.html
    2) What’s the Hoover Institutes relationship with the authoritarian state of Russia, and its ambassador?

    To defend democratic gains and spur a renewed democratic boom, Diamond urges the United States and its democratic allies to vigorously support good governance – transparency, the rule of law, individual rights, and shared economic prosperity – and to back those civic and political organizations that show commitment to the spirit of democracy.

    3) As a member of the Hoover Institute, what policy suggestions does the Hoover institute recommend to that end?

    3) Which do you see more beneficial to ‘shared economic prosperity’, Obamacare or PaulRyanTrumpcare?

    4) What’s your opinion on this nation’s wealth predominately going to the wealthy, and income inequality? What policy changes would you suggest?

    • Kevin Skipper

      Killin’ ’em!

      • William – SF

        He never got deeper than the evaporated puddle outside my door.
        Why don’t you apply to HI? At least I’ll get my feet a little damp.

        • Kevin Skipper

          Why?

          http://www.hoover.org/publications/caravan/issue-1613

          Second photo from the top. Look at that nose. Historical Fiction.
          Next one down. Look at that nose then the lack of noses. Historical Fiction, in the works.

          Give not your strength unto that which is ungodly.

          Off to practice my bass. Gotta jam tonite.

          • William – SF

            Why? Because you have the chops, certainly so if this guy is the baseline, and because it would be life changing …hopefully for them.

          • Kevin Skipper

            Food for thought, indeed.

          • Kevin Skipper

            There is no changing the lifeless. Fools die trying.

  • CN

    Roy Marcus Cohn ( February 20, 1927 – August 2, 1986) was an American attorney. During Senator Joseph McCarthy’s investigations into Communist activity in the United States during the Second Red Scare, Cohn served as McCarthy’s chief counsel and gained special prominence during the Army–McCarthy hearings…
    Trump’s mentor was chief counsel for McCarthy!

    • Robert Thomas

      Pretty funny, huh?

      I actually cackled when I heard the tweet quoted from the idiot barrage last week, that decried President Obama’s alleged “McCarthyism”.

      Like, I was drinking a glass of water and it came out my nose.

      What a hoot!

    • Curious

      You know who Barry’s mentors were, right?

  • EIDALM

    Larry Diamond is not talking about Democracy in the real sense, he is talking about bogus and fake Democracy that is controlled and run by corporate power……But what do you expect to hear from the Hoover Institute members except corporate propaganda and lies.

    • Kevin Skipper

      He’ll turn around and swear that he’s an persecuted ethnic minority. Invites all of the worst epithets, slurs and insults.

  • Kevin Skipper

    Not Autocracy or Authoritarianism. Not Nationalism. Not Nativism. Still Christian. Still Chauvinist. Still racist. Still White-Supremacist. Just color-based Xenophobic population management. The rhetorical workings of Eugenics.

    Cheap fear stories meant to divide and control.

    BAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

  • Bob Stone

    I just don’t see the real difference between Putin and the United States. We have done the same things in the past (and probably still doing it). You think we haven’t interfered in other countries politics? That we haven’t killed foreign leaders who don’t support us? Or do you justify all this because the US is “good” and Russia is”bad”?

  • Kevin Skipper

    Diamond, I’m calling right now. You’re a charlatan of the most inveterate sort.

    • William – SF

      Apply for his job, dammit!

      • Kevin Skipper

        Not a bad suggestion. I’d have to shift some things around…time management-wise.

  • Robert Thomas

    I’ve never paid attention to nor cared about anything this stooge has had to say about anything else. Why should I start now?

  • Kevin Skipper

    Download my political translation app!

    “I do not think that it was political theater.”

    translation: yeah, that was pretty much political theater, by definition.

    wow.

  • David Kelley

    I am so surprised that one agenda that is covered and nobody is talking about in this Trump era is the slow creeping of church and state, evangelical Christians and other Christians are really banding together with Donald Trump to have a more control in political power that they had behind the scenes for ages now and yet this unintended situation is what caused a fascist environment in the dark ages and nobody is talking about it

    • Noelle

      Caller bringing up the Johnson Amendment–YAY!

      • David Kelley

        Just covering all my bases 🙂

  • Kevin Skipper

    “Kleptocracy”

    Translation: Capitalism lacking requisite factional or cartel sanctions.

  • Patty Bove

    I am very troubled that Mr. Diamond is relentlessly blaming Democrats for delaying the approval of the Deputy Attorney General. He surely must be aware that Senator Chuck Grassley (Republican) is the one specifically holding up the nomination. Get that fact straight.

  • Robert Thomas

    KLEPTOCRACY?!

    The Very First Thing that the Republican 115th Congress accomplished was the repeal of Section 1504(3) of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, that prohibited oil, gas and minerals industries from surreptitiously bribing foreign potentates in order to steal their country’s resources. It was done by means of the Congressional Review Act and satisfied Secretary Tillerson, who strenuously argued against its inclusion in Dodd-Frank when he was Exxon chairman, in charge of offering bribes to the world’s corrupt strongmen.

    • Fielding Mellish

      No, I tell you. Corruption charges! Corruption? Corruption is government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulations. We have laws against it precisely so we can get away with it. Corruption is our protection. Corruption keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the streets. Corruption is why we win.

      • Kevin Skipper

        On whom do The Corrupted place the blame?

        • Fielding Mellish

          Those who finish 2nd ….

          • Kevin Skipper

            go ahead…

      • Robert Thomas

        If I was President
        And the Congress call my name
        I’d say ‘who do?
        Who do you think you’re foolin’?’
        I’ve got the Presidential Seal
        I’m up on the Presidential Podium
        My mama loves me
        She loves me
        She gets down on her knees and hugs me
        And she loves me like a rock
        She rocks me like the rock of ages
        And she loves me
        She love me love me love me…

        • Fielding Mellish

          Mr.Simon is that you ?

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    “The only thing phonier and more staged than show biz – is the news biz” — well said by the late Tom Snyder

    • Kevin Skipper

      “I do NOT think this is political theater.”

      ***WINK, WINK***

  • c_woof

    It appears t me that the perception that the Ds have moved “left” is only because the Rs have moved so far to the right.
    Nixon gave us many things we enjoy today that the Rs are now trying their best to diminish if not obliterate. The Ds want to protect them.

    • Kevin Skipper

      D’s belief in the truth of that statement is evidence of a hard-shift to the right. GOP meets them at the center, effectively absorbing and canceling most of the inertia.

      • c_woof

        The GOP is not meeting anyone @ the center of anything.

        • Kevin Skipper

          A fair assertion but I’d beg to differ. Trumpocrats, ship-jumpers and urban gentrification prove otherwise. Despite GOP contortions and black-balling, the ACA was a centrist campaign. The AHCA and it’s obvious similarity to it is evidence. Bi-partisan increases in military and police spending are virtual proof.

          • c_woof

            I see no center in what you assert.
            Turning the US into a police state is not centrist. The AHCA is a payoff for the rich and the Insurance cos.

          • Kevin Skipper

            Both Neo-Conservative and Neo-Liberal ideations represent a move to a non-partisan nationalist platform. Been the plan since the 1930’s. Textbook social studies. Where have you been?

            I’m interested to see citations of the research that has convinced you otherwise.

          • c_woof

            I see you haven’t heard of the concept of the dumbing down of the populace, promoted by some on this very page.

          • Kevin Skipper

            I’ve heard stories but I’m more curious about the hard evidence that supports your thinking.

          • c_woof

            Trump is president.

          • Kevin Skipper

            Alright then. Be sure to keep me updated.

          • c_woof

            3+ years to go. Many tweets in the forecast.

          • Kevin Skipper

            Tweets, eh?

          • Kevin Skipper

            Tweets, eh? No way to falsify or misrepresent anything less than 130 characters, right?

          • c_woof

            None @ all. Every word a gem, true to its core being.

          • Kevin Skipper

            #blissfullytruthy

  • Kevin Skipper

    Mr. Krasny, that’s a fabulous question.

    Skipper News Service

    Engagement is an institution bet suited for those who question institutions.

  • Peg A

    I’d like to hear Larry Diamond’s comment on the idea of the Democrats holding off on Gorsuch confirmation until the independent investigation on Trump and Russia has been completed.

  • trite

    The institution of the presidency has proved to be very vulnerable to being hijacked. Could you speak about the institution.

    • Kevin Skipper

      Can you speak to the proof? So far the only damage seems to be media coherence and public understanding. Maintaining that is the duty of responsible adults. Citizens. Not our estranged government. The day we get that straightened out it the day that our government mechanisms are restored to us as useful symbols of the freedom that we claim to cherish.

  • Ehkzu

    The primary tool of autocracy isn’t nativism/populism. It’s fear coupled with ignorance. Ignorant, fearful populaces willingly give up their freedom to a Big Man, in hopes that he will save them from what scares them. So the Big Man seeks to continuously scare them, while at the same time deligitimizing any and all alternate sources of information and support.

    Hence Trump’s frequent attacks on Democrats, the media, the courts, our allies, science, the law…thinking. He and he alone can save us…

    • Kevin Skipper

      Is Evil Orange Trump to blame or do we look to each other to refuse to be held captive by fear? Everyone always says what they’d do if slavery was re-instituted. Well, here we are.

  • Kevin Skipper

    Funny, I still have yet to hear exactly what secrets the Russians supposedly sought or gained by their alleged hacking. Seems like conjecture and inference are the new substitutes for hard evidence. From this standpoint, everything short of abject line-towing is ‘autocracy.’

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    I wish NPR would focus on the lies instead of dominating the news cycle with repetitive stories about immigration. Entire agencies like the EPA are now being destroyed — crimes against science and enlightenment. Yet NPR engages in endless hand-wringing about how we must be open to Islam. This is why Hillary lost. TOUGHEN UP, NPR. Bernie was not a wimp – NPR needs stronger reporting not hand-wringing.

    • Kevin Skipper

      NPR’s coverage has effectively convinced me that the story of the supposed destruction of the EPA is itself, fake news.

      • c_woof

        Some are so easily convinced. No wonder we’re in so much trouble.
        You need to do decent research.

        • Kevin Skipper

          According to your research, who is “We?”

          • c_woof

            USA.

          • Kevin Skipper

            Only those historically included in the definition are in trouble. History proves that certain parties will not need to divest because we were never originally included as beneficiaries of what is now a severely devalued inheritance of collective socio-economic debt.

            The load is nothing new. It’s merely being shifted, transferred to to the shoulders of those for whom it is rightfully meant.

          • c_woof

            What does any of that actually mean in real life?

          • Kevin Skipper

            It means that USA isn’t universal. It never has been and never will be. The trouble that you speak of tends to limit itself the the under-informed and easily-persuaded. Those who bought Bernie and held on to Hillary are exactly the ones up in arms. Coincidence?

          • c_woof

            So does their being up in arms give you hope?

          • Kevin Skipper

            Emotionally, I’m divested. To me, it’s just a sign of the times.

          • c_woof

            So………the current budget salvo being another “sign of the times” does their being up in arms give you any hope?

          • Kevin Skipper

            As I said, I remain unaffected by arm-waving, glib contortions and other contrived political gesticulation. They can say whatever they want about the budget. I come from a demographic which has no illusions about this country and its perfidious legacy of betrayal and disenfranchisement.

          • c_woof

            Anyone who might have seen T for what he was, and those who now see. Demographics unlimited.

          • Kevin Skipper

            Trump is the best we’ve ever seen. Some are susceptible to refractory false polarizations and are thereby blinded to the facts. Emotional Blinders. De rigueur for the fashionable dwellers of allegorical caves.

          • c_woof

            Allegorically speaking, the conman rules America in the 21stC. yum

          • Kevin Skipper

            At least its still consistent. The day an honest man makes it to the white house, I’m packing my bags.

          • Kevin Skipper

            The coal ash thing? Easy. It was never happening in the first place.

          • c_woof

            Says who?

          • Kevin Skipper

            Says preexisting DOI watershed laws. Contrary to liberal blather, drinking water contamination is reserved strictly for urban communities of color and the occasional Indian Reservation but never where there’s risk of ‘good ol’ folks’ being affected. Save that for “Gasland” and other dramatizations.

          • c_woof

            What about stream pollution in general, ruining the watershed?

          • Kevin Skipper

            Show me a ruined watershed that serves a majority white community.
            This is America. They don’t exist.

            Oakland, Detroit, Atlanta and New Orleans have ALL made sure that their “black” neighborhoods receive the most contaminated, chlorinated, over-flouridated water supplies, often from purposely inferior lead piping.

          • c_woof

            Yes? What’s your point? That there is no agency which is doing the work?
            Or that there is no recourse for all the people, just some of the people?
            And if that is the case, what is the remedy?

          • Kevin Skipper

            If the Ozarks or the Great Smokies have been contaminated, I have yet to see valid evidence. If there are such reports and they are, indeed true, then perhaps, like the Kallikaks, it has something to do with concealing the most shameful practice of eugenicist gene-pool-shrinking, inbreeding.

            No contaminated streams, just marginalized and exploited populations of the poor. https://www.tva.gov/

    • Ehkzu

      I wrote a comment supporting your point that KQED’s censors deleted–I’m guessing because I didn’t use the NPR/KQED-decreed term “undocumented immigrant” in my comment. I think this substantiates your point. Citizens of other countries living in America in violation of American law are to be sacralized.

      I oppose virtually everything Trump says and does, but the Democrats’ singular focus on the needs of these angels from abroad–as NPR and KQED appear to view them–was a key reason for Trump’s victory IMO.

    • Brux

      In reality NPR is appropriately tough on Islam, it is just that in this world, when the Republicans engage in debate you have to exaggerate whatever you mean to say, amp it up, even to the point where it makes no sense, is impossible or contradicts the facts or something you have said before.

  • Kevin Skipper

    Anybody else miss the last comment when the online feed went silent?
    What’s Krasny sighing about? Did Diamond confess to being a COINTELPRO plant?

    • William – SF

      Krasny was sighing about recalling Trump’s birther comments concerning Obama’s place of birth and whether Trump took his comment back or not. Diamond believes Trump did take his birther comments back. Me thinks not.

      • Kevin Skipper

        He said that he took it back. The statement was made in the context of an appearance in which he had already said that he would be acting and effectively lying in order to convince the gullible that he was acting “Presidential.” It was a hilarious joke, just like Obama’s birth certificate. Quid Pro Quo. Nobody’s mad.

        “‘We’re’ all immigrants.” Right?

        • William – SF

          See Ehkzu comment elsewhere. Yes, it’s Trump’s Presidential shtick to stick it to those his followers want to stick it to. Nothing funny ’bout it. No humor in Ben Carson’s immigrants comments either.

          • Kevin Skipper

            It was a carefully codified message to suggest that Trumps administration plans to insinuate urban america into its pretend resistance to ‘Islamic” immigration and is in no way evidence of any plans to improve the station of these existing minority citizens. It is, in fact a reminder that, despite liberals and their self-suffering doomsday prophecies, not to expect anything other than what we’ve seen up to this point. Economically, informationally, socially, racially, just more of the same, refined for the times. Any story to the contrary is a joke.

  • MikeCassady

    From a historical perspective, the present rise of authoritarian populism, in its present form, is perhaps not so strange. Year to year events are at least in part surface features that are only symptomatic of underlying factors affecting the deeper roots of established ideas and assumptions. In moral terms, the mass of experience informing public opinion and dialog, like tectonic plates, is responding to pressures they are not well equipped to rationalize and articulate. The cohorts of World War II and the Great Depression have just moved their considerable moral weight off the balance, and their presense mattered throughout the postwar period for bringing historicla left-right thinking into play in a postwar world that had made a political reality of extra-national states no longer a secret possibility. Without the deep experience of the war cohorts, familiar patterns of prewar American Life, thought to be eternal, have become a head full of concepts without lived content of experience. In more immediate terms, the political class of Boomer dominance is a cohort divided against itself by the Reagan attack on youth opposition activism in the ’60’s such that those who were welcomed by the Reagan vision into public life selected themselves by their mea culpas into servility to the past. For the cohort who fought for a political role, and bodily, for a role in deciding USAmerica’s postwar future, it says something that few if any congressmen and congress women would admit to publicly protesting the Vietnam thing, or actively supporting the Civil Rights Movement. History is important for situating ourselves in the present. Surveys of public opinion tell us what?

    • Kevin Skipper

      Boom!

  • David Kelley

    “World democracy has the occult promise of a fair world to live in”
    Dr Obadiah Harris, President of the philosophical research society in Los Angeles California.
    Obadiah Harris is close friends with manly Palmer Hall who built the facility as a wisdom library that occult philosophers hale as the greatest library for the occult world, books such as “Lucifer” from Madame h.p. blavatsky among other books on the occult, something that Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a serious interest in, Roosevelt a 32° freemason in fact all the names above were members of Freemasonry and or involved in the occult practice who believed(s) that in order for a democracy to genuinely occur in the world, it must be done by a society of perfected men, and it must be controlled by them and all other societies must be eliminated or at least, reduced for utopia to exist…. That is your highest levels of administration agenda in any time of American history, even Donald Trump, who is a very rich and powerful man, and as Dr Obadiah Harris says ( who is not a nobody, but a person of interest) it is the man with the wisdom and the man with the power that can achieve this democracy, this is the true heart of the founding fathers intentions, they all were members of these secret societies and all knew the secret destiny of America

  • jakeleone

    Does anyone remember the scandal over the 6 pointed star being an anti-semitic tweet by Trump? Talk about fake news, it is fake until called out, then it is farce-news.

    Can we please, all, go listen to the leaked conversation between Victoria Nuland and our top diplomat in Ukraine. Where we hand pick the next (post-coup) leader of Ukraine.

    BTW, who cares about the Russian or Chinese dictators? Apparently not Apple, or Microsoft, or Intel, or Google, or Facebook. These guys who run these companies don’t care who is in power in these countries, they just want to make money. And frankly, they are someone else’s dictators.

    We have far more to fear from crack-pot dictators like the one in North Korea. Because the idiot could start a nuclear exchange.

    Look, America has been brutalized by countries that lack serious control over they populace, and sponsor (at tolerate) religiously genocide groups. That cost us 5-7 trillion dollars. Minus that, we would be pushing for a Keynsian to get into office, and more over we would be progression to Space, Sciences and infrastructure, instead we made smart bombs.

    Democracy thrives when there are protections from one group annihlating another, such as the 1st amendment and a government strong enought to enforce it. Minus that, America would be just like the middle east. Indeed I would say, we should rate every government not on Democracy, but on its ability and willingness to preserve freedom of religion.

    Saudi Arabia, would be pretty low on the list. Iran would be higher, maybe not much, but higher.

Host

Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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