NORMAN — Acclaimed broadcast journalist and recent Gaylord Prize recipient Judy Woodruff expressed stalwart optimism for America’s future in remarks she delivered evening about the election Monday at the University of Oklahoma.
“It’s more and more difficult in America to find a press that is free, objective and impartial,” OU President David Boren said in his introduction of Woodruff. “We desperately need channels of information that leave us to make the decision and just give us the facts. That’s why we’re so pleased to have our guest here tonight, as she has played that role of objective purveyor of information to us, so we can participate in the political process.”
As the final guest of the President’s Associates dinner series focusing on the election, Woodruff’s examination, “The Impact of the Presidential Election on America’s Future,” gave a comprehensive view of prominent issues concerning the electorate and their chosen leaders, citing exit polls and emphasizing a strong belief that “the country will survive.”
“(Approaching the fiscal cliff) we’re not going to split down the middle as a country, even though we were incredibly divided,” Woodruff said. “I see in these results a determination in the heart of Americans to try to find a way to work together.”
Notable among Woodruff’s retrospective remarks was her negative evaluation of opinon polls, especially as they pertain to political news coverage.
“Most polls were right, some were very wrong. Reporters look to these polls, in my opinion too much, to set the framework of their election coverage and how they view candidates. We need to set the polls aside, try to cover these candidates as fairly as possible and not look at who is a few points up or down but look at it as a choice that the American people are making.”
Looking to the future, Woodruff predicted President Barack Obama’s renewed effort to reach out to Republicans and Democrats to avoid further financial devastation, reforms in the nation’s tax and immigration policies, a resurgence of U.S. global energy dominance in the coming years, a rise in states’ legalization of gay marriage and a drop in national unemployment.
Overall, Woodruff’s outlook was one of great hope and faith in America’s functioning, if fragile system, complemented by a great sense of pride in its citizens.
“This election, as were those before it, was a giant political earthquake. Americans got up out of their homes and jobs, they went to their polling places, cast their ballots and, from every corner of the nation, they voted,” Woodruff said. “We come together, we make a decision and accept the results without firing a shot. It’s our democracy at work, and I believe it’s the strongest government on earth and am so grateful for it.”