A National Ombudsman

Concept: Form a group of journalists, a mix of conservatives and liberals, to serve on a panel that would review news stories and even political issues to identify areas of consensus on the key facts as well as identifying arguments or positions that are either legitimate or not. Above their politics, the members would be committed to Enlightenment principles and standards of journalism–and they would use these to analyzing the news and political events.

As an example, this panel could look at the ties between Russia and Trump campaign. They could identify the key facts, details about the case that are speculative, and they could analyze the various arguments and positions made by the Trump administration as well as those who oppose Trump.

I realize what I’m describing doesn’t really fit the description of an ombudsman, but I like the national ombudsman as a name for this. I do think this panel could also serve as traditional ombudsman role–namely, citizens could complain about certain reporting, and the panel could evaluate the reporting and then weigh in.

Purpose:

The purpose of the panel is to provide a basic and common understanding of important news and issues facing the nation–a way to specifically counteract the formation of individual information bubbles. The latter divides the nation and makes democracy far more difficult, if not impossible. The panel, by being ideologically diverse, and intellectually fair and rigorous, can help provide a way to help people get outside their personal bubbles.

Additional Feature:

The National Ombudsman could set up a website to publish their results with the a discussion section. The discussion section woudln’t be open to anyone. Instead, local newspapers could set up citizen’s editorial boards and they could choose some of these individuals to participate on these online discussions. Part of the idea is to find thoughtful and civil individuals, as well as weed out trolls, foreign or domestic.

2 Responses to “A National Ombudsman”


  1. Mitchell

    Is it a paid position? Who’s funding it? How are members selected? Do they keep their regular jobs while also doing this?

  2. Reid

    I’m not sure–I haven’t thought that far. The panel could also be rotating group–e.g., members could agree to serve for a year.

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