PBS Host To Give Civil Discourse Keynote

Sep 11, 2018

Alexander Heffner

A panel on civil discourse in politics will take place at the University of Wyoming September 11. The keynote speech will be hosted by Alexander Heffner, host of the PBS show, “The Open Mind.” On the show, Heffner explores politics, media and technology through interviews. It airs nationally including on Wyoming’s PBS station.

Jean Garrison is the director of the Center for Global Studies at the University of Wyoming, which helped bring Heffner to campus. She said Heffner will address social media, fake news and how these things have affected our discourse.

Garrison said, “What he’s looking at is the nature of civil, or uncivil, discourse that we have today in American politics. He’s looking historically at that, and he’s posing questions about how we get to positive space.”

She said she believes people should work to find a middle ground.

“I think on most issues there’s actually a common middle. It’s just in an environment where social media and things emphasize difference. We almost forget we have commonality,” said Garrison.

Following the keynote, there will be a panel on civil discourse and a Q&A session. The panel will include Heffner, two Republican members of Wyoming Congress and two members of the Wyoming court system. The event will be live-streamed on the Wyoming PBS website.