Background Briefing: September 24, 2023


Tuesday Will See the First American President to Join a Picket Line in the UAW Strike in Detroit

 We begin with the first time an American president joined a picket line in support of a strike which will happen on Tuesday in Detroit when Biden joins the UAW strike against GM and Stellantis, sparing Ford who UAW President Shawn Fain says are negotiating in good faith. Joining us is Nelson Lichtenstein, Research Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he directs the Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy. He is the author or editor of 17 books, including a biography of the labor leader Walter Reuther and The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business and The Right and Labor in America: Politics, Ideology, and Imagination. His latest book, coauthored with the late Judith Stein, is A Fabulous Failure: The Clinton Presidency and the Transformation of American Capitalism.


How Shaky is Xi Jinping’s Hold on Power?

Then we look into how shaky Xi Jinping’s hold on power in China is as top leaders are mysteriously disappearing without explanation including the former Foreign and Defenses Ministers. Joining us is Perry Link, who holds the Chancelorial Chair for Innovative Teaching across Disciplines and is also a professor of comparative Literature and Foreign Languages at the University of California, Riverside. He is one of the world’s foremost experts on China’s language, culture, and people, and in the 1990s, he edited the “Tiananmen Papers,” a collection of documents leaked by a high-level Chinese official that helped chronicle the events that led up to and followed the pro-reform student protests in June 1989. He was blacklisted by the Chinese government in 1996.


The Failure of Journalism in the Reagan Era and Now the Trump Era

Then finally we assess the failure of journalism during the Reagan era as media, religion and politics merged to normalize a conservative agenda as well as today’s failures in the media having helped elect Trump as they normalize him on a CNN Town Hall and on “Meet the Press” and still dance to his tune. Joining us is Diane Winston, who spent over a decade as a journalist and is now a professor of journalism and Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the University of Southern California. She is the author or editor of several books, including Religion in Los Angeles: Religious Activism, Innovation and Diversity in the Global City and her latest book is Righting the American Dream: How the Media Mainstreamed Reagan’s Evangelical Vision.