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Author Jonathan Rauch to confront conspiracy theories, fake news and more at Oct. 28 ASU event

In-person and online lecture is co-sponsored by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

Rescuing Reality: Can Americans Have Shared Facts Again?

Jonathan Rauch will discuss Americans' inability to agree on even basic facts.

October 22, 2021

Almost a year into the new administration, millions of Republicans still believe (falsely) that Democrats stole the 2020 presidential election while many Democrats believe (falsely) that Republicans stole the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race. The accusations are fueled by conspiracy theories, trolling, name-calling and disinformation, contributing to the fracturing of the country. Today, Americans can’t agree on even basic facts.

This is the topic of the lecture presented by The Atlantic author and senior fellow of the Brookings Institution Jonathan Rauch at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, in the ASU Memorial Union on the Tempe campus.

Rauch joins the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership as a speaker in the Civic Discourse Project 2021–22 series “Renewing America’s Civic Compact.” The event is free and open to the public both in-person and livestreamed on YouTube.

Register here

Collective search for truth

As Rauch points out in his new book “The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth,” Americans can restore a common reality by following James Madison’s principles of pluralism, persuasion and compromise, which govern not only our politics but also our collective search for truth.

"With this lecture, we at (the school) rededicate ourselves to our mission to foster an interdisciplinary and balanced environment for debating ideas that are critical to our democracy," said Paul Carrese, director of the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. "It is possible to find common ground, agree on facts and truths while maintaining tolerance."

Rauch’s work focuses on the pressing contemporary subjects of freedom of speech and thought, political polarization and gay marriage. He is a senior fellow of the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., and contributing writer of The Atlantic, author of eight books and many articles, and he has received two of the magazine industry’s leading prizes — the National Magazine Award (the industry’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize) and the National Headliner Award.

About the Civic Discourse Project

The Civic Discourse Project is co-sponsored by ASU’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU, and supported by the Jack Miller Center and by the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR).

The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership is an academic unit inside The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University. Founded in 2017, the school combines liberal arts education with outside-the-classroom learning experiences to prepare students for leadership roles in the public and private sectors. The school also hosts a robust public programming schedule in its Civic Discourse Project, which addresses the pressing issues of our times and is aired on Arizona PBS. All lectures are free, open to the public and available for viewing at and on YouTube. For more information about the school's academic offerings and events, visit

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is one of the nation’s preeminent law schools, focused on offering students a personalized legal education. Ranked No. 1 in Arizona since 2010 and No. 25 nationally by U.S. News & World Report, ASU Law offers students the opportunity to tailor their education, to match externships to their interests and to utilize career services resources to help land their ideal jobs. For more information, visit

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