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In Philadelphia, Filmmaker Ken Burns Focuses On Civility In National Discourse

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(Ken Burns at National Constitution Center on Friday.  Photo by Karin Phillips)

(Ken Burns at National Constitution Center on Friday. Photo by Karin Phillips)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Filmmaker Ken Burns is leading a list of dignitaries this weekend in a conference focusing on civility in democracy.

The latest documentary by Burns — “Prohibition” — is the nexus of a weekend conference at the National Constitution Center, and later a national initiative dubbed “Can We Talk? A Conversation about Civility and Democracy in America,” a series of events to begin discussion about a more civil national discourse.

Burns says “Prohibition” was about more than rain-slicked Chicago streets and gangsters with tommy guns.

“It turns out to be about the demonization of immigrants, it turns out to be about unfunded mandates, about smear campaigns against politicians, about a whole group in the country who want to take the country back,” Burns says.  “And all of a sudden you’re saying, ‘Aren’t you talking about the Tea Party, aren’t you talking about what he said about her in the last election?’ “

Burns’ film, which will be televised this fall, will be shown at the Constitution Center, and two town meetings will be held on Saturday.

Reported by Karin Phillips, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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