Skip to main content

The Alexander Grass Humanities Institute Welcomes PBS The Open Mind Host, Alexander Heffner

September 27, 2018 @ 7:00 pm
Bird in Hand
11 E 33rd St
Baltimore, MD 21218

Divisiveness today is a pervasive plague on discourse and governance. Social media proliferate clickbait, fake news, and filter bubbles. Algorithms polarize information intake. So what are possible prescriptions to correct this vicious cycle? How can our increasingly digital footprint translate into prosocial instead of antisocial behavior? How can the press restore faith in our civic life, democracy and humanity?

PBS The Open Mind host, Alexander Heffner, will provide a lecture that will discuss the tenth anniversary edition of his and Richard D. Heffner’s A Documentary History of the United States. The new chapter “Populists Revolt…Democracy Under Duress” explores the presidency of Donald Trump and the digital age through critical documents shaping contemporary America…Presidential tweets, Congressional testimony on cyberwar, speeches by Bernie Sanders and Jeff Flake, and Facebook posts by Mark Zuckerberg. He will consider how the current media and political climate are impacting the first draft of history, including the threat of clickbait, fake news, bots, trolls and filter bubbles.

Alexander Heffner (@HeffnerA) is the host of The Open Mind (@OpenMindTV) on PBS and coauthor of A Documentary History of the United States (Penguin, 2018). He has covered American politics, civic life and Millennials for leading newspapers and magazines. He founded and edited the first-ever online national student newspapers covering the 2008 presidential campaign and the Obama presidency. His work has been profiled in The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times, and he has lectured at the Kinder Institute for Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri, the Post-Truth Initiative at the University of Sydney, and the Center for Information and Bubble Studies at the University of Copenhagen, among other institutions of learning. He directed a civic education initiative for which he taught in under-served classrooms and was the political director for WHRB 95.3 FM. A native New Yorker, he is a graduate of Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts and Harvard.

Download the poster.