Peter Dreier

Peter Dreier is the E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and founding chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. 

Recent Articles

Americans Agree That Trump Is a Liar. Do They Realize He Is Also a Sociopath?

Mainstream media have no problem calling out Trump’s falsehoods. But they need to do more.

AP Photo/Susan Walsh
AP Photo/Susan Walsh President Donald Trump sits for a radio interview in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. D onald Trump has said so many despicable things over the past few decades, especially since he entered politics, that it is hard to choose his most contemptible remark. But two of Trump’s recent comments, one falsely criticizing President Obama for failing to console families of fallen soldiers, and the other, making an unwittingly callous call to the widow of a fallen American soldier in an effort to score political points, surely rank among his most appalling. Trump’s remarks, and the resulting news media coverage, reveals as much about evolving journalistic norms as it does about the president’s mental health. Since Trump’s election, Americans have seen a dramatic shift in the way the news media cover a president. They have been more willing to call out his never-ending falsehoods. Rather than simply report what Trump says, or balance his comments with remarks from...

Athletes and Activism

American athletes have used their celebrity to spotlight injustices, but the NFL protests may be the largest in professional sports history. Still, there’s more they can do to challenge Trump and his allies. 

(AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File)
(AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File) Buffalo Bills players take a knee during the national anthem before their game against the Denver Broncos on September 24, 2017. I f #BlackLivesMatter encapsulated a burgeoning protest movement against police abuse, #TakeAKnee took those protests to a new level this week as NFL players responded to President Trump’s attack on athletes who dare to exercise their First Amendment rights to protest against injustice. Aside from professional athletes forming labor unions and going on strike to improve their pay, benefits, and working conditions, the current national anthem protests may be the largest collective dissent in the modern history of professional or collegiate sports. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick launched the protests last year by kneeling to display his opposition to police killings of African Americans. This year, only a few players took a knee during the preseason games or in early regular season games. But another Trump...

The Virginia Shooting Isn't About Bernie. It’s About the Right’s Embrace of Guns.

Concentrating on James Hodgkinson's political leanings obscures the real problem of gun violence in America—and why it's happening. 

AP Photo/Cliff Owen
AP Photo/Cliff Owen An SUV with a bullet hole in the windshield and a flat tire sits in the parking lot following a shooting in Alexandria, Virginia on June 14, 2017. S oon after James Hodgkinson brought a 7.62-caliber rifle and a handgun to a baseball field in suburban Virginia and opened fire, injuring Republican politicians and staffers, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich offered his explanation for this horrific incident. “It's part of a pattern,” Gingrich said on Fox News. “An increasing intensity of hostility on the left.” Rush Limbaugh called Hodgkinson part of “the deranged based of the Democratic Party.” The National Review ’s David French referred to the shooting as “a textbook example of lone-wolf progressive terrorism.” We’d expect no less from right-wingers like Gingrich, but this view was also parroted in a New York Times article under the headline “Attack Tests Movement Sanders Founded” by reporter Yamiche Alcindor. She wrote, “The suspect in the shooting in Virginia...

The Feisty Group That Exposed Wells Fargo’s Wrongdoing

The whistleblowing heroes are the bank’s employees who formed the Committee for Better Banks—not that you’d know this from the media’s coverage.

DW labs Incorporated/Shutterstock
DW labs Incorporated/Shutterstock F ront-page stories in Tuesday’s New York Times, Wall Street Journal , and Los Angeles Times revealed that Wells Fargo’s board would be slashing $75 million in compensation from two former top executives whom it blamed for the bank’s scandal over fraudulent accounts. But missing from these three papers’ stories—and from similar stories in other major print and broadcast news outlets—was the feisty group of bank employees that initially exposed the wrongdoing: the Committee for Better Banks . A report issued Monday by a four-person committee of Wells Fargo’s board determined that John G. Stumpf (the former CEO) and Carrie L. Tolstedt (the former head of community banking)—both of whom were ousted last year—were primarily responsible for pressuring low-level employees to create and foist two million unwanted bank and credit card accounts on unsuspecting customers. To penalize the two former executives, it demanded a “clawback”—the forced return of pay...