"Finding Consensual Fact in Political Debate," in Venomous Speech: Problems with American Political Discourse on the Right and Left. Greenwood Publishing, 2013.

Book Chapter
Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Timothy Fallis
Research Area: 

Consensual fact is needed to ground engaged argument. One advances an argument from agreed-upon ground that serves as the foundation for the case being made. Among those disposed to contest inconvenient data, engaged debate is made possible, in part, by the existence of institutional sources that each side considers methodologically sophisticated as well as expert in the subject of the debate. Here we examine the role two types of nonpartisan organizations, the Congressional Budget Office and three internet-based fact-checking entities, play in identifying consensual fact and show the functions these organizations play in creating common ground.

Is much of the current dysfunction in our political system attributable to the problematic discourse of politicians, pundits, and journalists? These authors on legal and political discourse say yes.

Venomous Speech: Problems with American Political Discourse on the Right and Left is edited by Clark Rountree.

"These two volumes are valuable in gauging the political climate of the last several years. Whether the current culture of negativity is more pronounced than at any other time in our nation's history is not a central issue, nor should it be. The various essays delineate a clear and compelling case that our current political climate is highly polarized and threatens to eliminate the possibility of bipartisanship for the foreseeable future. . . . Rountree's introductory essay provides a well-crafted sense of why the strains between and among politicians and citizens have emerged at the present time."
- Quarterly Journal of Speech