Out Of Order: Civility In Politics
Airs Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 10:30 p.m. on KPBS TV
Over the last generation, citizens have increasingly expressed discontent with national politics. Approval ratings for Congress are consistently low regardless of which party is in power, and many feel that the government is riddled with too much gridlock and partisan gamesmanship.
Senior statesmen and women have noted that the collegiality they shared in the past with peers of differing political ideologies has disappeared in this era of polarization. The ability to discuss issues from varying points of view and then compromise on solutions appears to be fading from the American political process.
Is the art of debate and compromise lost on contemporary politics in the United States? Is it possible to restore civility to Congress, and should we try? Was civility ever as dominant as current characterizations often suggest?
This timely documentary explores the decline in civil discourse; the news media’s role in this, including the internet; partisan gridlock; vanishing commitment to reasonable compromise; declining civic engagement; and the roles of factors such as gerrymandering, filibustering, increased showboating, scandal, and cynicism.
The documentary proposes some reforms that might restore what Thomas Jefferson referred to as “the most legitimate engine of government.”
"Out Of Order: Civility In Politics" relies on interviews with prominent academics, journalists, political observers, and senior (current and former) elected officials. The production features first-hand accounts by respected statesmen and women. Interviews include journalist Bob Schieffer (CBS News), Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Sen. Susan Collins (R-MA), Fmr Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), Fmr Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY) and Fmr Sen. John Warner (R-VA).