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Morgan to speak on political rhetoric and role of media

American political discourse, says Ted Morgan, is full of the rhetoric of attack, blame and victimhood.

Ted Morgan, professor of political science, will examine how the media keep Americans “apart and powerless” Wednesday, Jan. 19, as part of the Town Hall Lecture Series presented by the City of Bethlehem and Lehigh’s South Side Initiative.

Morgan’s talk, the second in the ongoing series, begins at 7 p.m. at Bethlehem City Hall. Titled “How the Mass Media Keep Us Apart—and Powerless; or, How Did We Get Into this Mess?”, the lecture will examine recent events including the mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona, that claimed the lives of six and left U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords recovering from a bullet wound to the head.

Since the 1960s, Morgan says, American political discourse has been full of the rhetoric of attack, blame and victimhood, while government seems unable to deal effectively with deepening economic, ecological and social justice problems.

Drawing on research for his newly published book, What Really Happened to the 1960s: How Mass Media Culture Failed American Democracy, Morgan will seek to explain how and why Americans got into this situation and how they can revitalize their democracy.

The Town Hall Lecture Series seeks to promote an exchange of ideas between the university and city residents on matters of current interest and local, national, and global importance.

“Ted Morgan’s ambitious new book insists that Americans can come together to create substantive social change—as a great many did during the 1960s—but he also warns us that the mass media has persistently distracted us from this knowledge of our own power,” says Seth Moglen, co-director of Lehigh’s South Side Initiative.

“This is an important and timely subject that deserves to be aired in every town hall and town square in the United States.”

The first event in the Town Hall Lecture Series, titled “Have a Healthier Bethlehem Now: Community Approaches to Individual Health,” was presented in October by Judy Lasker, professor of sociology at Lehigh, and Meagan Grega, M.D., a physician in Easton.

Story by Tricia Long

Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011

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