'The Government Gurus' Podcast Is A Refreshing Truth In A World Of Fake News

'The Government Gurus' Podcast Is A Refreshing Truth In A World Of Fake News

It has long been time for a political media outlet to surface that serves Americans in ways the mainstream media has failed them, and who better to fill that void than a teacher of government himself.

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In today's political climate and with our oversaturation of information and media outlets, bias is inescapable. The mainstream rhetoric regarding our news media denotes it to be "fake," with some going so far as to call it the "enemy of the people." Although it seems extreme, this trend is not without reason. There have been several instances, particularly in recent years, of news outlets breaking stories too early only for them to later have to retract these stories and announce that the information reported was inaccurate because it was unverified before publication or broadcast. As younger and older generations alike find themselves using the media as their primary source of political information and as their basis of understanding of our government and how it operates, the clear bias, opinion, and often unreliable news Americans consume is a dangerous movement. It threatens the integrity of our democracy and the rectitude of American voters.

While this tendency has become more widely known, it still feels impossible to find broadcasts, newspapers, websites, or podcasts where American voters can simply learn without the burden of our current politics. For Americans who wish to be truly informed and to recognize how our institutions work, the rights citizens are given, and the limitations and extensions of our law so that they may form their own opinion and present or argue that opinion clearly with a foundation of knowledge rather than ignorance, mainstream media has failed them.

For an outlet to serve that purpose, however, it would be necessary for it to not only be unbiased in its presentation of information, but for it to support the topics it discusses by teaching the fundamentals of our government and our Constitution so that audiences can entirely understand and individually analyze what they are given, forming their own political identity. Who better to create such an outlet than a government teacher.

"The Government Gurus" Podcast was founded and is run by advanced placement and dual enrollment (meaning he teaches college-credit classes in the high school) government teacher Alex Bennett, from Woodgrove High School in Purcellville, Virginia. A Central Michigan graduate with a double major in Social Studies and History, Alex Bennett has two master's degrees in science and Political Science and wanted to fill the void of an audience he felt was underserved and contribute more as a teacher. (Disclosure: I was a student of his in AP government during my senior year of high school.)

Bennett began his podcast with hopes of reaching high school students who take advanced placement government classes as well as their teachers, but his podcast has the potential to expand far beyond that.

After seeing other "teachers on social media platforms working with their students in so many wonderful ways," Bennett saw the ways in which classes such as AP Government were changing, and he could adjust to add something of his own to the new curriculum. Even though "Government Gurus" is still relatively in its early days, the lineup of guests on the show so far is nothing short of impressive. Constitutional scholar, Harvard Law graduate, journalist, award-winning author, and two-time recipient of the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel award Linda Monk appeared on the podcast in September of 2018 to discuss the "history and purpose of the Bill of Rights and its importance it has in achieving full protections of civil liberties and civil rights for all."

Other notable past guests include Executive Director of the Constitutional Source Project Julie Silverbrook, acclaimed historian Tom Richey, and member of the Council of Islamic and American Relations Carolyn Homer. Keeping with the original intention of "Government Gurus" as a way to augment the evolving U.S. Government classroom curriculum, Jenifer Hitchcock, a Political Science teacher from Fairfax, Virginia, appeared on the show in April of 2018 to discuss Federalist Paper No. 78 with Bennett. Additionally, listeners can look forward to future episodes with Mary Beth Tinker, the defendant in the momentous Tinker v. Des Moines case and constitutional professor and author Garrett Epps.

Particularly considering the prevalence of media that surrounds politics today that caters to relatively partisan opinions, the content of "Government Gurus" is what makes it exceptional and pertinent today. Avoiding discussion of political controversies and judgment, the dialogue is based on the AP curriculum used in the classroom and endorsed by the National Constitution Center with the premise of presenting totally unbiased information, meant to inform on several viewpoints rather than persuade to adhere to one. Bennett says of his style, "…my teaching isn't designed to change the minds of people, it's to get them to understand the other side. My listeners do not need another political pundit articulating bias opinions, what they need, I feel, is a solid foundation of government and its function."

In a world of fake news, this adage is refreshing. As popular discontent with mainstream media grows amongst voters and Americans in generals, podcasts and news media like "Government Gurus" will continue to see surges in listeners and viewership. Bennett fills a critical void by straying from what media believes listeners want, to producing content they can actually value and trust. Listeners of the "Government Gurus" can expect quality content without the struggle of having to determine what can be taken as fact over speculation.

Further, listeners can expect the podcast to grow and expand into current events but while maintaining the consistency of being a source of information that excludes bias. As Bennett continues to develop "The Government Gurus," he hopes to give congressmen and women the opportunity to appear on the show and reach out directly to government students and other avid learners across the country and begin to promote podcasting in national conventions as well.

Listeners can support "The Government Gurus" through PayPal using the email alexwbennett@gmail.com, listening, and rating the podcast on your listening app. You can access the show through Apple Podcasts, Google Playstore, and Spotify, and follow @thegovgurus on Twitter and Facebook.

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I'm The College Girl Who Likes Trump And Hates Feminism, And Living On A Liberal Campus Is Terrifying

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

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I will get right to the point: being a conservative on a liberal college campus in 2019 downright terrifying.

At my university, I'm sure about 90% of the population, both students and faculty, are liberals. They are very outspoken, never afraid to express their views, opinions, and feelings in several ways. There are pride events for the LGBT community, a huge celebration for MLK day, and tons of events for feminists.

Then there's the minority: the conservatives. The realists. The "racists," "bigots," and "the heartless." I am everything the liberals absolutely despise.

I like Donald Trump because he puts America first and is actually getting things done. He wants to make our country a better place.

I want a wall to keep illegals out because I want my loved ones and me to be safe from any possible danger. As for those who are genuinely coming here for a better life, JUST FILL OUT THE PAPERWORK INSTEAD OF SNEAKING AROUND.

I'm pro-life; killing an infant at nine months is inhumane to me (and yet liberals say it's inhumane to keep illegals out…but let's not get into that right now).

I hate feminism. Why? Because modern feminism isn't even feminism. Slandering the male species and wanting to take down the patriarchy is just ridiculous.

I hate the media. I don't trust anyone in it. I think they are all biased, pathological liars. They purposely make our president look like the devil himself, leaving out anything good he does.

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

I mostly keep my opinions to myself out of fear. When I end up getting one of my "twisted" and "uneducated" thoughts slip out, I cringe, waiting for the slap in the face.

Don't get me wrong; not everyone at my university is hostile to those who think differently than they do.

I've shared my opinions with some liberal students and professors before, and there was no bloodshed. Sure, we may not see eye to eye, but that's okay. That just means we can understand each other a little better.

Even though the handful of students and faculty I've talked to were able to swallow my opinions, I'm still overwhelmed by the thousands of other people on campus who may not be as kind and attentive. But you can't please everybody. That's just life.

Your school is supposed to be a safe environment where you can be yourself. Just because I think differently than the vast majority of my peers doesn't mean I deserve to be a target for ridicule. No one conservative does. Scratch that, NO ONE DOES.

I don't think I'll ever feel safe.

Not just on campus, but anywhere. This world is a cruel place. All I can do is stand firm in my beliefs and try to tolerate and listen to the clashing opinions of others. What else can I do?

All I can say is... listen. Be nice. Be respectful of other's opinions, even if you strongly disagree. Besides, we all do have one thing in common: the desire for a better country.

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Dear Young Voices Of America, Stand Up, Speak Up, And Do Something

Our time is now.

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Dear young voices of America, I think we can both agree that we are sick of being told we are America's future while simultaneously being told our opinions don't matter. Now I personally do not listen to the people that tell me I'm better seen than heard; however, I know there are people that are a little timider when it comes to raising their voices. I am here to encourage you to be loud and speak up on topics that matter to you. There is no better time than the present to make your voice heard. Whether you are advocating for change in your school or the government, your opinion matters and is relevant.

We are the future of our country. How are we supposed to evoke change and reform if we can't have our voices heard? I call bullshit and I think it's time to take action. Even if you're the first or only person to advocate for your cause, be that person. Don't be afraid of anyone that tries to stand in your way. The only person that can stop you from speaking up for yourself and your cause is you. No matter how many nos you have to hear to get a yes or how many doors you have to knock on to get someone to open up, never give up. Never give up on your cause, never give up on yourself or the people you're representing, just don't do it. There is someone out there that supports you. Maybe they're just too shy to raise their voice too. Be encouraging and be supportive and get people to take a stand with you.

It is never too early or too late to start thinking about your future or to take action. But don't hesitate to say something. The sooner you start speaking up, the sooner you have people joining you and helping you, and the sooner you start to see and experience change. So get up, make that sign, write that letter, make that phone call, take part in that march, give that speech. Do whatever you feel fit to get your point across. Shout it from the rooftops, write it on your profile, send it in a letter, ignore everyone that tries to tell you to give up. Maybe they don't understand now, maybe they don't want to listen, maybe they're afraid to listen, but the more you talk about it and help them understand what exactly you are trying to get across, they will join you.

Even when it feels like you have nobody on your side but yourself, I am on your side. I will cheer you on, I will march with you hand in hand, I will write letters and make phone calls and help you find your voice. My life changed when I found my voice and yours will too.

So dear young voices of America, the time is now. Your time is now. Don't be afraid of the obstacles that you may have to face. Someone is out there waiting for you, waiting to grab your hand and march on with you. As Tarana Burke once said "Get up. Stand up. Speak up. Do something."

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