In an increasingly polarized political — and cable TV news — climate, “The Open Mind” remains what Heffner calls “a stage for civil discourse.” “If there is going to be an interrogation, it’s of the idea, not of the person,” he said. “The ideas are what deserve critical reflection.”
But mostly Heffner conveys the happy impression of someone who still has a close relationship with a person he once deeply loved and admired — and still does. It’s that emotional bond, which is obvious on the air, that has made this transition unique.
Alexander Heffner was a special correspondent for PBS’s Need to Know chronicling the Millennial vote in 2012. He founded and edited SCOOP08 and SCOOP44, the first-ever national student newspapers covering the 2008 campaign and the Obama administration, and taught a civic education/journalism seminar in New York City public school classrooms.