To celebrate the four-year anniversary of the opening of the Washington Library, the Library is hosting an old-fashioned debate regarding the Freedom of the Press moderated by Mark Preston.

The Founding Debates are sponsored by The Ammerman Family Foundation to honor James C. Rees, whose vision lives on with the Washington Library.


Date and Time




Robert H. and Clarice Smith Theater
Located in the Ford Orientation Center
George Washington's Mount Vernon
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy.
Mount Vernon, VA, 22121

Preeminent scholars in the study of early America and journalism will discuss the notion of the Freedom of the Press from the nation's founding through today. Moderated by Mark Preston, the guest speakers for the event include John Avlon,  Sharyl Attkisson, and Douglas Bradburn. Join us for a lively and informative conversation, with ample opportunity for questions from the audience, followed by a cocktail reception.

Header Image: Signing of the Constitution, Howard Chandler Christy, 1939. Courtesy of the Architect of the U.S. Capitol.

Mark Preston is CNN's executive director of political programming and senior political analyst. He hosts "Full Stop with Mark Preston" on SiriusXM POTUS 124. Preston joined CNN in 2005 as political editor and has received a number of prestigious honors, including Emmys in 2006 and 2012, for the network's award-winning election night coverage.

John Avlon is the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Beast and a CNN political analyst. He is the author of Independent Nation and Wingnuts as well as an editor of the anthology Deadline Artists: America’s Greatest Newspaper Columns. He was the chief speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and won the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ award for Best Online Column in 2012.

Sharyl Attkisson is an Emmy award winning investigative journalist, host of the Sunday morning news program Full Measure, and author of The New York Times bestseller: Stonewalled. Her new book is titled The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote

Douglas M. Bradburn is Founding Director of The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, and author of the Citizenship Revolution: Politics and the Creation of the American Union.

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