Research

Free Trade Rules:
Leading Opinion Pages Provide Scant Space to Critics

The crisis on Wall Street has aptly demonstrated the degree to which global economies are integrated, as economic fissures in the United States sent shockwaves around the globe too big for financial institutions in any one country to contain. In this context, The Boston Globe reported in an October 9 article that there are now "second thoughts on globalization," calls for a "new model for global trade," and perhaps even efforts "to overhaul the global finance system conceived at the 1944 summit in Bretton Woods."

The current model of global trade and finance has sparked contentious debates over the past decade, most visibly at global trade summits, where demonstrators from around the world have gathered to protest. Indeed, academics, interest groups, businesspeople, and workers have been engaged in a vigorous debate over the impact of free trade. One might expect such contentiousness to be reflected in the public debate over trade in the United States. However, in one key discussion forum - the opinion pages of the three most important newspapers in America - there is no debate. Instead, there is a striking consensus in favor of free trade, and scant space is granted to critics of the current model of global trade.

Change the Debate:
How Gaffes, Games, & Gotchas Dominated the 2008 Presidential Primary Debates

With a few exceptions, the media figures who moderated the debates focused on endless rehashes of campaign gaffes, pointless dissections of political tactics, and issues of personality. As a result, critical issues were pushed aside.

Change the Debate documents the worst of the media's performance during these debates in the hope that future debates will be more substantive and useful to voters. Read more.

Fear & Loathing in Prime Time: Immigration Myths and Cable News

There are many problems facing the United States today: a faltering economy, a health-care crisis, and the continuing war in Iraq, to name a few. But viewers of some of the most prominent cable news programs are presented a different reality in which one issue stands above all others: illegal immigration.

Fear and Loathing in Prime Time documents the rhetoric surrounding immigration that is heard on cable news. When it comes to this issue, cable news overflows not just with vitriol, but also with a series of myths that feed viewers' resentment and fears, seemingly geared toward creating anti-immigrant hysteria.

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Column: Guns, Lies, and Videotape

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