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Ep. 65: What Does it Mean to be an American?

It’s America’s birthday! But what exactly does it mean to be an American? We explore theories of what it means to be an American – is it a kind of national identity, a commitment to particular ideas, a set of civic practices, or something else entirely?

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Ep. 64: A Primer on Primaries

What’s the deal with primaries? Why do they happen? Why do they matter? Do we really have to pay attention to them? Do I really have to vote twice this year? (Hint: Yes!) And what is the role of political parties in primaries? What should it be? Can a party really “meddle” in its own primaries? (Hint: No!)

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Ep. 61: How to Think About the Media (Part 2: Partisanship & Bias)

The news media in America has a complicated relationship to partisan politics and political ideology. The mainstream news media continues to prize ideals of objectivity & neutrality, but countless outlets offer an explicitly partisan takes on the news. We should be worried? Is partisan media a problem for democracy, or is it fitting in a democracy with robust protections for freedom of the press? And what are news consumers to make of claims about bias in the ostensibly neutral news media? Is the ‘mainstream media’ really liberally biased? Or do other biases?such as those toward celebrity, scandal, and novelty?outweigh any ideological bias? And how does all of this connect with the business incentives of the media we discussed a couple of weeks ago?

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