Past Event

Media and Democracy with Laura Flanders Café Society Do-It-Yourself Launch Celebration

Is the media fair and objective or is the media becoming more partisan? Can we point to the recent resignation of Van Jones as an indication of the growing power of the media on politics and policy? Does the media influence politics or is it the other way around? What should the role of the media be in a democracy?

Laura Flanders, host of “GRITtv” — the new news and culture discussion program online, on satellite and on cable TV – will engage us in a lively conversation about these issues and more. This conversation will be moderated by Barbara Ransby, Director of the Gender and Women’s Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Plus, hear a few words from Lisa Lee, founder of The Public Square.

Following the presentation, we invite YOU to join the conversation. We’ll break down into small, facilitated discussions  – Café Society style — to share thoughts and reflections on the role of the media, partisan politics and democracy.

Hope you can join us in celebrating the official launch of the Café Society Do-It-Yourself Toolkit with special guest Laura Flanders!

This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are required and can be made online, by email at, or by calling 312.422.5580. Light refreshments will be served.

This event is co-sponsored by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and The Public Square.

Chicago Public Radio – WBEZ 91.5FM is the media sponsor of this event.

Laura Flanders is the host of “GRITtv,” the new news and culture discussion program online, on satellite, and on cable TV. She is the author of Blue Grit: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians, and the New York Times bestseller BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species, an exposé of women in George W. Bush’s cabinet. As part of the original-line up on Air America Radio, she hosted The Laura Flanders Show and RadioNation. An author and broadcaster for more than 20 years, Flanders was founding director of the Women’s Desk at the media watch group, FAIR, where she hosted CounterSpin, FAIR’s syndicated radio show. She launched the award-winning YOUR CALL on public radio KALW in San Francisco. She is a regular contributor to The Nation, Ms. Magazine, The Huffington Post, AlterNet, and is a regular guest on CNN, MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, and The Ed Show.

Barbara Ransby is a historian, writer, and longtime political activist. Ransby has published dozens of articles and essays in popular and scholarly venues. She is most notably the author of an award-winning biography of civil rights activist Ella Baker, entitled Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision (University of North Carolina, 2003). Barbara is currently working on two major research projects: a study of African American feminist organizations in the 1970s and a political biography of Eslanda Cardozo Goode Robeson. She serves on the editorial board of the London-based journal, Race and Class, and a number of nonprofit civic and media organizations. Professor Ransby received a B.A. in History from Columbia University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan. She is Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, African-American Studies and History, and Director of the Gender and Women Studies Program at University of Illinois at Chicago. 

More about GRITtv

Launched in May 2008, GRITtv harnesses the energy of the political moment and the tools of new technology to reach a broad national audience with an engaging progressive message and a way to get involved. GRITtv is now broadcast on key websites online including The Nation, Alternet, and, on satellite, on cable television, and on a growing number of Public Television affiliates. Building on Ms. Flanders’ established brand of upbeat, intelligent discussion, GRITtv covers politics in Washington but also beyond the Beltway, translating complex policy – ranging from environmental justice and financial upheaval to foreign policy – into clear terms and putting local stories within a national framework. In its first year, GRITtv showcased lively debates among guests including Dean Baker, David Cay Johnston, Janeane Garofalo, Stephen Greenhouse, Chris Hedges, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Jim Hightower, Naomi Klein, Walter Mosley, Jane Mayer, Michael Ratner, Matt Taibbi, Hendrick Hertzberg, and the Yes Men.  

For more information, call 312.422.5580.