Part of the National Week of Conversation, former Fox News anchor and ABC Chief Washington correspondent discuss the impact of the media on America’s views.
Wilton, CT, April 25, 2022 – Last night Common Ground Committee (CGC), a nonpartisan, citizen-led nonprofit dedicated to reducing polarization, held their fifteenth public forum – Media, Politics and Polarization – that brought Chris Wallace, formerly of Fox News, for his second appearance with CGC, having last participated in 2020 alongside New York Times’ Maggie Haberman. This time he was joined by Jonathan Karl, ABC News’ Chief Washington Correspondent and co-anchor of This Week with George Stephanopoulos. The two media personalities engaged on the media’s impact on American attitudes, and how public trust can be restored as news outlets navigate a changing landscape. Former CBS news correspondent and author Jacqueline Adams moderated the conversation.
“Americans trust in the news media is at an all time low,” said Bruce Bond, co-founder of Common Ground Committee. “Last night, Chris Wallace and Jonathan Karl reminded us that there is hope for the future. Journalists like Chris and Jonathan remain committed to sharing facts with the public. We look forward to seeing our audience and all Americans reading news that challenges them and finding common ground.”
Over the course of the evening, Wallace and Karl discussed their individual experiences with their respective networks, and what it takes to tell the news objectively and without political agenda. Specific points brought up during the evening include:
- The media does not create polarization it reflects it
- The media should prioritize its own credibility over day-to-day rating fluctuations
- There is a huge range of information and news available in “the media” — Americans need to avoid getting caught up listening to or reading only things which support their biases
- News should focus on facts and journalists have a responsibility to the public to interview a wide variety of people, even if audiences don’t all like interviewee’s views
During the event, Wallace expressed optimism for the future of journalism despite intense polarization. “I don’t think we should be too depressed or downcast. There’s a lot of great reporting happening on the left and the right,” he said. “To a certain degree, the focus is in the wrong direction, it’s not the institutions. It’s not on the media or the government to change. It’s on individuals. It’s on us as individuals to demand that change.”
Karl, too, expressed hope for the future while also calling for a rededication to facts over ratings. “We need to have news organizations that are dedicated to nothing more than pursuing the facts,” he declared. “We have gone through intensely polarized periods, perhaps some worse than this. I sense in the people I speak to that the pendulum will swing. I am cautiously optimistic we will get through all of this.”
This was CGC’s fourth live virtual event and first this year, following a virtual forum last year with Gov. John Kasich and Sec. Julián Castro, and racial reconciliation activists Darryl Davis and Ryan Lo’Ree.
For interview requests, please contact Emily Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-671-2086
About Common Ground Committee
Common Ground Committee (CGC) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)3 citizen-led organization dedicated to fostering more progress and less division in politics. Since its founding in 2009, CGC has held 14 public forums featuring panelists who have reached over 200 points of consensus. Panelists have included such notable pairings as John Kerry and Condoleezza Rice, David Petraeus and Susan Rice, Michael Steele and Donna Brazile, and Larry Kudlow and Barney Frank, exploring issues ranging from race and income inequality to foreign policy. CGC produces the “Let’s Find Common Ground” podcast series, which has had over 100 thousand downloads. CGC also created the Common Ground Scorecard, a voting tool that scores politicians and candidates for public office on their likelihood to find common ground with the opposite party. Free of political agenda and financial influence, CGC has a singular focus on bringing light, not heat, to public discourse.