North Texas Daily

Carl Bernstein and P.J. O’Rourke talk politics in UNT appearance

Carl Bernstein and P.J. O’Rourke talk politics in UNT appearance

October 09
22:35 2016

Journalist Carl Bernstein and writer P.J. O’Rourke were on campus Wednesday for “A Funny Thing Happened In the White House,” a Distinguished Lecture Series talk.

Political science professor Kimi King, the moderator, asked Bernstein and O’Rourke questions about the presidential election and future of American politics.

“Our election isn’t about the candidates, but about where we are as a country,” Bernstein said.

Bernstein is an investigative journalist, widely known for his part in exposing the Watergate scandal that pressed President Richard Nixon to resign in 1974.

Bernstein called this year’s election the “election from hell.” He took time to discuss the problems with both candidates. His outlook was not optimistic.

“We had Clinton, Sanders, Johnson, Cruz and Trump,” said O’Rourke. “That doesn’t sound like a list of candidates, it sounds like a bad law firm.”

O’Rourke is a political satirist and author who writes about current political issues. He is a frequent panelist for National Public Radio’s game show “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” and a columnist at The Daily Beast.

When talking of Hillary Clinton, O’Rourke made several jokes about the e-mail server scandal. Bernie Sanders, O’Rourke said, is the “Donald Trump for people who live in their parent’s basements.” And Gary Johnson “thinks Aleppo is a brand of dog food.”

“Younger generations have the opportunity to solve the problems left by our generations,” Bernstein said.

Bernstein mentioned that despite all the remarkable revolutions and movements in the past, regarding the rights of all races, genders and sexualities, his generation broke the system.

“Politics is growing in size, scope and expense,” O’Rourke said, “The government is being tasked with too many responsibilities and has too much power.”

Bernstein added onto O’Rourke’s point, describing the United States as a meritocracy. The issue, he said, isn’t just about the elite, but an oligarchy of multi-millionaires.

King: “What perceptions of our candidates are real, despite the media?”

O’Rourke: “The media will cover a circus.”

He mentioned the media are following Trump because he’s entertaining. But to that point, “you are the media.” The information is out there in the open, but it’s up to the public to make informed decisions.

Bernstein: “Hope resides in young people. The reality this generation faces creates attitudes that can change the system.”

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Bina Perino

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