Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Photo of Bill Moyers Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Watch & Listen The Blog Archive Transcripts Buy DVDs
Making History
Flag TV
Watch Video
Read Transcript
Comment
October 31, 2008

As the days before the final vote wane, the historic nature of the 2008 election is on the minds of pundits and voters alike. The election cycle has been different from those that preceded it in numerous ways. It's been the first truly digital campaign — where the news, rumor and polling cycles are shortened to near immediacy by the Internet. The BBC, that most venerable of news organizations, illustrates this change, highlighting the top ten YouTube campaign videos on its election hub site.

The race has also been historic in fiscal terms — in terms of the ground-breaking amount of money spent to woo the voters in 2008. Then there is the gender factor in the 2008 election — although many an analyst and citizen seem to have forgotten that Geraldine Ferraro was a viable female vice-presidential candidate in our nation's not so distant past. Undoubtedly what many would consider the true historic nature of the 2008 election is the possibility that an African-American could win the presidency.

Attempting to parse what this historic event means offers up a wide variety of responses — not untypical of any attempt to pin down American attitudes toward race. THE WASHINGTON POST ran a story on October 29 about a middle-aged African-American Obama volunteer whose sense of a grand historic moment was slightly undercut by younger volunteers who view the nation as already "post-racial." When NPR ran an election "conversation on race" complaints poured in. The very same discussion led to letters which variously accused the show producers of being in the pay of the McCain campaign and die-hard Obama activists.

Historians and political watchers point to the possibility of a momentous philosophical change that could come along with this election. Their question is: What will the presidency look like? The German media outlet DEUTSCHE WELLE suggests that there could be a sea change in the way America relates to the world at large — positing "The end of the unilateral Bush era." Stateside White House watchers wonder: Will the accumulation of power in the Executive Branch under the Bush administration be reversed? Can it be reversed? Should it be?

The Annenberg School of Public Policy's Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Glenn Loury of Brown University joins Bill Moyers to talk about power, race, politics and history in 2008.

Glenn C. Loury

Photo by Robin Holland Glenn C. Loury is the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Brown University. Professor Loury is a distinguished academic economist who has contributed to a variety of areas in applied microeconomic theory: welfare economics, game theory, industrial organization, natural resource economics, and the economics of income distribution.

In addition to this scholarly work, Professor Loury is also a prominent social critic and public intellectual. His over 200 essays and reviews on racial inequality and social policy have appeared in dozens of influential journals of public affairs in the U.S. and abroad. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, was for many years a contributing editor at THE NEW REPUBLIC, and currently serves on the editorial advisory boards of THE AMERICAN INTEREST.

Professor Loury's books include ONE BY ONE, FROM THE INSIDE OUT: ESSAYS AND REVIEWS ON RACE AND RESPONSIBILITY IN AMERICA — winner of the American Book Award); THE ANATOMY OF RACIAL INEQUALITY (2002); ETHNICITY, SOCIAL MOBILITY AND PUBLIC POLICY: COMPARING THE US AND THE UK (2005) and RACE, INCARCERATION, AND AMERICAN VALUES (2008).

Kathleen Hall Jamieson

Photo by Robin Holland Kathleen Hall Jamieson is the Elizabeth Ware Packard Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and Walter and Leonore Annenberg Director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Jamieson is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Philosophical Society. She is the author, co author or editor of fifteen books including: UNSPUN: FINDING FACTS IN A WORLD OF DISINFORMATION, THE 2000 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AND THE FOUNDATIONS OF PARTY POLITICS, THE PRESS EFFECT and EVERYTHING YOU THINK YOU KNOW ABOUT POLITICS...AND WHY YOU'RE WRONG, ECHO CHAMBER: RUSH LIMBAUGH AND THE CONSERVATIVE MEDIA ESTABLISHMENT and PRESIDENTS CREATING THE PRESIDENCY: DEEDS DONE IN WORDS. During the 2004 general election, Jamieson regularly appeared on NOW WITH BILL MOYERS and THE NEWSHOUR.

Guest photos by Robin Holland

Published October 31, 2008.

Related Media:
GraphMedia Analysis
The JOURNAL takes an in-depth look at the news of the week to sort out the media-frenzied information available from what the public still needs to know. Factcheck.org's Kathleen Hall Jamieson and ON THE MEDIA's Brooke Gladstone dissect campaign coverage. (October 3, 2008)

OAndrew J. Bacevich
Is an imperial presidency destroying what America stands for? Bill Moyers sits down with history and international relations expert and former US Army Colonel Andrew J. Bacevich who identifies three major problems facing our democracy: the crises of economy, government and militarism, and calls for a redefinition of the American way of life. (August 15, 2008)

ORace in America
BILL MOYERS JOURNAL examines racial inequality in America through the prisms of the legacy of slavery and the current socio-economic landscape with perspective from historical and cultural sociologist Orlando Patterson and Glenn C. Loury, an economist and expert on race and social division. (June 2, 2008)

OShelby Steele
Bill Moyers talks with Shelby Steele, who has written widely on race in American society and is author of the recent book A BOUND MAN: WHY WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT OBAMA AND WHY HE CAN'T WIN. (April 25, 2008)

Manuel Vasquez, photo by Robin HollandChristopher Edley and Maria Echaveste
Berkeley law professors, and husband and wife, Christopher Edley and Maria Echaveste on their different choices for Democratic candidate. (May 16, 2008)

The Kerner Commission 40 Years Later
THE JOURNAL looks at an update of the Kerner Commission Report, which blamed the violence on the devastating poverty and hopelessness endemic in the inner cities of the 1960s and includes an interview with former Oklahoma Senator Fred Harris, one of the last living members of the Kerner Commission. (March 28,2008)

YouTubePolitics 2.0
Bill Moyers talks with Kathleen Hall Jamieson about how the Internet has transformed the political campaign in the United States. (December 12, 2007)
References and Reading:
Black Churches, Black Theology and American History

Presidential Signing Statements

Glenn C. Loury

Glenn Loury's Page, Brown University

Open Source with Christopher Lydon
"Glenn Loury: The Missing Voice of Jeremiah," listen to an extended interview with Glenn Loury.

"A Nation of Jailers,"Beth Schwartzapfel, BROWN ALUMNI MAGAZINE, May/June 2008

"About Face," Adam Shatz, THE NEW YORK TIMES, January 20, 2002.

PBS THINK TANK: Glenn Loury

Fact Checking the Campaign

FactCheck.org
FactCheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania that aims to monitor the accuracy of major national candidates' statements and rhetoric.

The Fact-Checker
Run by veteran journalist Michael Dobbs, The Fact-Checker is a project of the WASHINGTON POST that publishes research evaluating and providing background and context to candidate statements and popular political stories.

Politifact and Truth-0-Meter
Politifact is an extensively cross-referenced fact-checking resource run as a joint project by the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES and CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY.

Also This Week:

CAN WASHINGTON CHANGE?
Can the stranglehold of money on politics be broken? Bill Moyers sits down with Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen, and Bob Edgar, president and CEO of Common Cause, to discuss how Beltway business as usual may stand in the way of real change in Washington.
>Track Campaign Dollars

MAKING HISTORY
The Annenberg School's Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Brown University's Glenn Loury on the final days of a historic election cycle.

THE ECONOMY: VOICES FROM THE MAP
View a photos essay of voices on the economy drawn from our Moyers on 2008 map.

UPDATE: THE FORGOTTEN FRONT
Checking in on the situation in Afghanistan.

MOYERS ON 2008
Add your voice to our election year map. Plus, get perspective on pressing election-year issues from JOURNAL guests.

>VIDEO YOUR VOTE from PBS.org

TALK BACK: THE MOYERS BLOG
Our posts and your comments
OUR POSTS
YOUR COMMENTS
For Educators    About the Series    Bill Moyers on PBS   

© Public Affairs Television 2008    Privacy Policy    DVD/VHS    Terms of Use    FAQ   
SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES AND PODCASTS EMAIL US