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‘Learning to listen’: Former NPR CEO Ken Stern’s journey through the political spectrum

Former NPR CEO Ken Stern detailed his journey from regisitered Democrat to Republican to Independent.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio
Former NPR CEO Ken Stern detailed his journey from registered Democrat to Republican to Independent.

Democrat. Republican. Independent.

Over the course of his life – and in that order – Ken Stern has identified politically as all three.

Stern, the former CEO of NPR, is in St. Louis participating in a discussion series Tuesday night at Washington University. He is author of the 2017 book, “Republican Like Me: How I Left the Liberal Bubble and Learned to Love the Right.”

“When I say I learned to love the right, I didn’t learn to agree with everything I heard, but I learned to listen and to appreciate and have a sense of good faith with the other side,” Stern told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Tuesday. “The president is the exact opposite. He lives in his own bubble and he wins by dividing, and that’s the problem with the country right now.”

President Donald Trump is not the only cause of increasing partisanship in the United States according to Stern. He cites other factors such as partisan cable news, social media and self-segregation of people into “politically compatible communities.”

“When you live with people who agree with you, when you watch media that agrees with you, it becomes really easy to believe you’re right and the other side is just wrong,” Stern said.

Data back up Stern’s assertions about increasing partisanship. According to the Pew Research Center, the gap between political values of Democrats and Republicans is the largest it’s ever been since the organization began tracking the gap in 1994.

Related Event

What: John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics Presents "Religion And Politics In An Age Of Fracture: Patel, Stern"
When: 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Where: Emerson Auditorium in Knight Hall at Washington University

More information

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex HeuerEvie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.
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