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Journalist Hedrick Smith to address the demise of the 'American Dream'

Hedrick Smith
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Hedrick Smith

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author Hedrick Smith will participate in the Cline Symposiumon campus March 11.

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2/27/2014 | Craig Chamberlain, Social Sciences Editor | 217-333-2894;

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author Hedrick Smith will speak on “Who Stole the American Dream?” in a talk at 7:30 p.m. March 11 on the third floor of Levis Center, 919 W. Illinois St., Urbana.

Hedrick Smith's book
Hedrick Smith's bestselling book "Who Stole the American Dream?"

Smith’s talk, based on his 2012 book of the same name, will be the keynote address for the spring 2014 Cline Symposium, titled “Recapturing the American Dream.”

Smith also will participate in a roundtable at 3 p.m. that day, titled “The American Dream: Facts and Fables.” The discussion will be on the third floor of the Levis Center.

Joining him for the roundtable will be Illinois faculty members Scott Althaus, a professor of political science and communication, moderating; Brian Gaines, a professor of political science, also in the Institute of Government and Public Affairs; Ruby Mendenhall, a professor of sociology and of African American Studies; and Noreen Sugrue, a research associate in Women and Gender in Global Perspectives.

Both events, organized by the Cline Center for Democracy, are free and open to the public.

Smith is well known for two previous books, “The Russians” and “The Power Game: How Washington Works,” as well as for numerous “Frontline” and other documentaries for PBS. A reporter for 26 years with The New York Times, Smith won a Pulitzer Prize in 1974 for his reporting from Russia and Eastern Europe.

In his evening talk, Smith will describe how America moved from an earlier era of widely shared power and effective bipartisan politics to today’s era of polarization, unequal democracy and financial inequality. In discussing the demise of the middle class, he will make the case that a power shift in Washington and wedge economics in the private sector are the main causes – not market forces, globalization and new technologies, which is often the explanation.

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