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A citizen embeds himself with the media covering the Presidential election. So begins the journey down the rabbit hole of our broken political information system, where shiny objects hypnotize, truthiness empowers and 
paranoia runs rampant.


This 40,000-foot story is told from the trenches of press conferences, voter experiences 

and the campaign trail, with insights from
veteran CBS journalist Bob Schieffer, Boston Globe Editor Brian McGrory, Harvard University’s Nicco Mele and others.


Ultimately, this is a story about the immense challenges our Democracy faces in the digital age and the role “we the people” must play in renewing long-held national values in turbulent times.

The Film
The Interviewees
The Issues


After filming the media and the campaigns, I sought out professional help to explain how we got to this Post-Truth Era. Here are some of the experts who contributed. 

  • Bob Schieffer, veteran journalist

  • ​Nicco Mele, Director of the Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University

  • Virginia Sapiro, Professor of Political Science at Boston University

  • Charles Sennott, Founder and Executive Director of The GroundTruth Project

  • Carole Bell, Assistant Professor of Communications Studies at Northeastern University

  • Melissa Zimdars, Assistant Professor of Communications at Merrimack College

  • Gregory Payne, Associate Professor and Chair of Communications Study at Emerson College

  • Brian McGrory, Editor of The Boston Globe

  • Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School

  • Andrew Smith, Director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center

  • Jack Beatty, Senior Editor of The Atlantic Magazine

  • Dan Kennedy, Associate Professor of Journalism at Northeastern University


Democracy Through the Looking Glass documents 

the many failures of the mainstream media (MSM),
 which has left a vacuum of “trusted” news that is being filled by a litany of ideological or phony information that news consumers have to parse. 

  • The MSM’s obsession with covering the optics of campaign strategy and horse race coverage creates a stark disconnect between the media  and the concerns of voters.


Tragically, this divide has life and death consequences. The film uses the heroin issue that emerged from the New Hampshire Primary to remind viewers that the opioid epidemic festered nationally for more than a decade before parents of dead children got the attention of politicians and the media. It took 12 years and 200,000 lives to get their attention, and even then, the coverage on the issue was shallow.

  • The film highlights the MSM’s embrace of shiny objects (to the point of manufacturing news) at the expense of real people and their problems. This leads to distrust of the MSM and motivates people to look for “better” news sources.

  • The focus of the film shifts to the impact of technology – not just the destruction of the newspaper industry and the driving force behind accountability journalism – but the very nature of the new communication technologies. Phone and tablet screens impact the way news is consumed and, therefore, created. Fragmentation of limitless media choices and the instant nature of new mediums like social media is amplifying the political discourse like never before.

  • The film documents a dystopian underbelly of our media ecosystem, exaggerating differences, reinforcing conspiracies, connecting fringes, and turning up the volume. An already politically polarizing environment is on steroids. At the same time, the creation of the film itself is a good example of how technology allows an individual, in an open society, to create their own social commentary.

  • We live in “truth bubbles” and we don’t seem to know how to get out of them. Ultimately, the media is just an accomplice to the enemy within us. We operate in a new and lawless land in this early digital age, where we are still exploring boundaries and have not yet established social norms for civic behavior. 

  • The not-so-subtle Marshall McLuhan influence (the medium is the message) now is self-evident. What is the impact of the early days of the digital age on Democracy?  Will our printing press institutions and traditions be obsolete in the digital age? Many aspects of society will need to be “re-imagined,” taking old values and rebuilding institutions and traditions. But the current 20-minute news cycle we have will never let us contemplate the larger, more urgent issues that shape our society.  ​

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