MMU student newspaper and Law and Politics Club to host Constitution Day panel event

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In recognition of Constitution Day, the Mount Mercy Times and Law and Politics Club will co-host a panel in Mount Mercy University's Betty Cherry Heritage Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m. The panel will discuss the First Amendment and its applications in the upcoming election.

“As Americans who have a right to vote, we have some obligation to be informed when we exercise that vote,” said MMU Associate Professor of Communication Joe Sheller, who helped organize the event. “As we approach 2020, how do we tell truth from fiction? Candidates won’t always tell us the full truth about themselves or their plans, but journalism is often too focused on who is winning the horserace rather than what those in power are likely to do. That creates challenges for both journalists and those in their audiences.”

The event, “If You Can Keep It: The Election of 2020 and The First Amendment,” will focus on how the ideal of a marketplace of ideas is at risk in the 2020 election cycle. The title comes from Ben Franklin’s famous response when asked what kind of government the Constitutional Convention was planning in 1787, a monarchy or republic. “A republic, if you can keep it,” Franklin replied. The panel will consider how media today can help voters keep their republic alive.

Panelists include the Executive Editor of the Gazette Zack Kucharski, retired Executive Director and Editor of Iowa Watch Lyle Mueller, MMU Assistant Professor of Political Science Richard Barrett, and Sheller. The panel will explore how freedom of the press, freedom of expression and our politics interact and coexist with our republic.

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