Columnists Among ‘Opinion Forum’ Speakers

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By: E&P Staff

Syndicated columnists are among the scheduled speakers at the first Opinion Forum March 8 in Washington, D.C. The event is hosted by The Week magazine and the Aspen Institute.

Panel topics will include “Opinion Journalists: Serving What Master?”; “The War in Iraq: Patriotism, Propaganda, and the Making of Public Opinion”; and “Is the Media Elite Out of Touch with America?” Among the panelists: columnists Arianna Huffington of Tribune Media Services, David Brooks of The New York Times and New York Times News Service, and Margaret Carlson of United Media. Carlson is also editor-at-large of The Week, which reports on content culled from hundreds of newspapers, magazines, and Web sites.

The Week Editor-in-Chief Bill Falk said he and his staff have noticed a distinct trend in column writing in recent years. “As the country has become increasingly polarized, a significant number of opinion writers have, in effect, chosen sides, and aligned themselves with specific political parties and philosophies,” Falk said. “Many columnists have given up any pretense of independence; they write for ‘us,’ in consistent condemnation of ‘them.’ … At our forum, we’ll explore this phenomenom and where it may lead.”

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) is giving the keynote address at the March 8 event, where winners of the second annual The Week awards will be announced for best columnist, editorial cartoonist, blogger, and single-issue advocate.

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