Background Briefing: November 15, 2023

What the US Can Do To Reach Out To the Chinese People

We begin with the summit meeting between President Biden and Xi Jinping at which the Chinese leader stressed that for “the most important bilateral relationship in the world…it is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other, and conflict and confrontation has unbearable consequences for both sides.” Joining us to go beyond cliches into what the US can do to reach out to the Chinese people, many of whom do not like their government or its leader, is Yaqiu Wang, Research Director for China, Hong Kong and Taiwan at Freedom House. Previously, she was the Senior China Researcher at Human Rights Watch and also worked on press freedom issues in China and other Asian countries for the Committee to Protect Journalists. We discuss her article at The Los Angeles Times “Tough talk from Biden at APEC won’t move Xi Jinping. Here’s what will.


The Breakdown of Decorum With Outbursts of Schoolyard Taunts and Threats of Violence From Congressmen and Senators

Then with an outburst of schoolyard taunts and threats of violence in Congress from representatives and senators, we discuss the breakdown of decorum and what is behind it with Joanne Freeman, a Professor of American History and of American Studies at Yale University who specializes in the politics and political culture of the revolutionary and early national periods of American History. Her books include Alexander Hamilton: Writings, Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic and The Field of Blood: Congressional Violence in Antebellum America.


America’s Appetite For Misinformation and How the Press Should Handle Trump’s Nazi Threats

Then finally we examine why Americans have an appetite for misinformation and how the press should handle increasingly hateful and fascistic threats coming from Trump. Joining us now is Dannagal Young, a professor of communication and political science at the University of Delaware. She is an award-winning scholar and teacher, a TED speaker, an improvisational comedian, and the author of Irony and Outrage: The Polarized Landscape of Rage, Fearand Laughter in the United States. Her latest book, just out, is Wrong: How Media, Politics, and Identity Drive Our Appetite for Misinformation.