Not sure what a "media cocoon" actually is, but I'm sure that will be discussed also:
The Leadership Forum was born after Hood wrote a column about North Carolinians living in “media cocoons” and the disappearance of civil debate. Democrat Leslie Winner, then head of the progressive Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, read it and met with Hood about changing that. They recruited a bipartisan steering committee, then the group of 35.
Hood emphasizes that the goal is not to find moderate solutions. “Our point is not we have these extremes and if everyone was more centrist we’d be better off,” Hood told me last week. “We like the fact that we have people way out on the right and left. The goal is not to marginalize them and aim for the common denominator. The point is to have a dialogue that is very robust with points of view strongly argued, but respectfully and with no name-calling. … If we can have people argue rather than bicker, make good-faith logical arguments, that’s a very valuable outcome.”
I suppose there could be some merit in pursuing such a dialogue, but it could also produce a false sense of security. The policy moves of current state leaders have produced horrific outcomes for many people living in North Carolina, and each year brings new and outrageous results. If this forum can't or won't smooth down those sharp edges, then it's (at best) a masturbatory exercise. At worst, it could blunt efforts (and money) dedicated to reversing those outcomes. Here's more:
The group will meet four times in the first year, tackling the question of how to enable more North Carolinians to earn enough to support their families. They hope to agree on specific policy proposals, but they know liberals and conservatives may see very different causes of and solutions to that issue.
Just having the conversation, though, and doing so civilly and respectfully, may be a more important and lasting product of this experiment. The group was created as much to foster reasoned conversation as it was to devise policy solutions. Even if members can’t agree on a minimum wage, the thinking goes, they might set an example that others can follow, whether they are legislators, City Council members or just Uncle Fred at the Thanksgiving table.
I hate to tell you this, but Uncle Fred is an asshole. Uncle Fred tried to get a loan to start an ostrich farm, and they told him 3/4 of an acre just wasn't enough land. Uncle Fred thinks chem trails are a real thing, and the Apollo Moon landings were an elaborate hoax. The only thing that will cure Uncle Fred's delusions is a dirt-nap, probably brought about by cheap whiskey and/or a tree that fell the wrong way.
But enough about Uncle Fred: In my years of blogging at BlueNC, I've viewed thousands of youtube videos. The ones that are recordings of bi-partisan "panels" or "forums" usually only attract a couple dozen views, and the mainstream media coverage of these gatherings is spotty, at best. How can you set an example when *nobody* can see or hear what you're doing? You remember the Clinton administration's Millennium Conversations? They were promoted like crazy, with notables like Maya Angelou and Stephen Hawking? No, you don't remember? Exactly.