Gwen Ifill – A Lost Voice for Truth and Civility

Gwen Ifill (Morry Gash/AP)

Gwen Ifill (Morry Gash/AP)

When I heard the news that Gwen Ifill had died, like so many others, I gasped. She was an icon, and more importantly, she was a trusted voice who helped untangle complex issues and events, from domestic politics to foreign affairs. Whenever I looked to find out what was really happening in the world, she was there.

In 2010, Tanenbaum honored Gwen for her commitment to truth, integrity and respect—and for her role as a Media Bridge Builder in a world too often divided. That was a special moment for us.

So when I heard of her loss, I was not only shocked. I was shaken. In losing Gwen, we added one more nail in the coffin of truth and integrity in public life.

During the last several decades, and certainly in the recent election cycle, we have witnessed the erosion of truth, together with a spiraling inability to assess and debate real facts. We can blame technology. We can blame tribalism. We can blame Twitter.

But the reality is that, for many reasons, getting to truth and complexity is now hard. So, as I remember Gwen Ifill, I say thank you. She reminded us that facts matter. Why truth is valuable. How we can hold vastly different opinions and still debate them. And why we must have the same—real—facts when we do so.

The loss of Gwen Ifill makes it much more difficult to stay the course of civility, truth and discourse. More difficult, and that much more important.

To honor her legacy, we all need to assume responsibility. To honor accuracy, truth and the dignity of all people. At Tanenbaum, we are committed to remembering Gwen Ifill and in trying to honor her by the way we do our work every day.

May her memory be for a blessing.

Joyce S. Dubensky
Tanenbaum CEO

Gwen Ifill, 2010 Tanenbaum Media Bridge Builder awardee.

One Year Since Sikhs Slaughtered: Top 5 News Stories

The State Department announced this week the creation of its first office dedicated to outreach to the global faith community and religious leaders.Sikhs Remember Tragedy By Embracing Faith •  Pope on homosexuals: 'Who am I to judge?' • Iran’s supreme leader issues edict on banned sect, tells people to avoid dealing with Baha’is • This Heroine Wears a Burqa to Fight Evil • State Dept. seeks to broaden religious reach

Last week's top stories, from our perspective:

Sikhs Remember Tragedy By Embracing Faith

On August 5th, 2012, a gunman opened fire at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, just south of Milwaukee. He killed six people. This August, the temple will hold a series of events to honor the victims, including a continuous recitation of the Sikh holy book, cover to cover. It's a ritual that happens at both happy and sad events, and is intended to bring peace and solace. (Photo credit from Mother Jones)

Pope on homosexuals: 'Who am I to judge?'

On the flight back to the Vatican from Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis fielded questions from reporters in the plane's press compartment. The Pope answered many questions, but the one gaining the most attention is: when asked about the Vatican's alleged "gay lobby," the Pope replied that while a lobby might be an issue, he doesn't have any problem with the inclination to homosexuality itself: "Who am I to judge them if they're seeking the Lord in good faith?" he said.

Iran’s supreme leader issues edict on banned sect, tells people to avoid dealing with Baha’is

Iran’s supreme leader is urging Iranians to avoid all dealings with members of the banned Baha’i sect in a possible prelude to further crackdowns on the minority.Iran already bans the Baha’i, a religion founded in the 1860s by a Persian nobleman considered a prophet by followers. Muslims consider Muhammad the final prophet. Many consider Baha'is to be among the most discriminated against religious minorities worldwide.

This Heroine Wears a Burqa to Fight Evil

A new cartoon in Pakistan features an unusual role model for female empowerment: a woman who uses martial arts to battle colorful villains such as Baba Bandooq, a Taliban-esque figure who tries to shut down her school, and Vadero Pajero, a corrupt politician. In the cartoon, a schooteacher, Jiya, transforms into the heroine by donning a burqa. There are supporters and detractors abound.

State Dept. seeks to broaden religious reach

​The State Department announced this week the creation of its first office dedicated to outreach to the global faith community and religious leaders. The State Department said the new office “will focus on engagement with faith-based organizations and religious institutions around the world to strengthen U.S. development and diplomacy and advance America’s interests and values.”